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Contesting Antiquity in EgyptArchaeologies, Museums, and the Struggle for Identities from World War I to Nasser$
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Donald Malcolm Reid

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166891

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166891.001.0001

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Pharaonism and Its Challengers in the 1930s and 1940s

Pharaonism and Its Challengers in the 1930s and 1940s

(p.295) 10 Pharaonism and Its Challengers in the 1930s and 1940s
Contesting Antiquity in Egypt

Donald Malcolm Reid

American University in Cairo Press

In the 1930s and 1940s, Hassan al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood grew into a mass movement, but the retreat of pharaonism before Islam and Arabism was not the rout that is sometimes assumed. Some deplored the pitting of pharaonism against Islam and Arabism as a false dichotomy and embraced the entire Egyptian past. Saad Zaghlul's mausoleum and his statues in Cairo and Alexandria were steeped in pharaonism. Even those with little interest in ancient Egypt took pride in Selim Hassan's and Sami Gabra's discoveries and advancing careers. Journalist Salama Musa, who had named his own son Khufu for the builder of the Great Pyramid, stood by his earlier pharaonist nationalism. Among the younger generation, Ahmad Husayn confessed to “pharaonic mania” even as his Young Egypt movement took on a more Islamic tone, King Faruq avidly collected pharaonic antiquities, schoolboy Gamal Abdel Nasser thrilled to Tawfiq al-Hakim's pharaonist Return of the Spirit, and Naguib Mahfouz set his first three novels in ancient Egypt.

Keywords:   Pharaonism, Islam, Arabism, Salama Musa, Mahfouz, Young Egypt, Tawfiq al-Hakim, Muslim Brotherhood, Zaghlul, Nasser

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