This book was by far the earliest book-length study of any aspect of modern Arabic literature to be published outside the Arab world.
SKU (ISBN): 1-59333-316-1
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Nov 14,2005
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 276
This book is the revision of a doctoral dissertation presented to the University of Edinburgh in 1951. It was accepted for publication in the same year, but did not appear until 1956. Even then, it was by far the earliest book-length study of any aspect of modern Arabic literature to be published outside the Arab world.
Because so little was known in the West about the direction taken by Arab thinkers and writers in modern times, the book devoted three chapters to a survey of Arabic literary production from the beginning of the nineteenth century. It then focused on Taha Husayn as arguably the most representative and influential modernist leader in Egypt. A man steeped in traditional learning but also sensitive to new needs and receptive of new ideas, he was the first to graduate from the first modern University to be created in the Arab world, and he was then sent to round up his formation in France. He developed into a much admired stylist, a prolific writer in many genres, a pugnacious debater prepared to suffer for the causes he espoused, an energetic educator who rose to be Minister of Education — all in all an individual whose career illustrated the main new directions taken by his society. Fifty years later, the book is being re-issued in its original form, as a landmark in modern Arabic studies.
Born in Egypt in 1921, of a Maltese (and therefore British) father and a Russian mother, Pierre Cachia attended successively French, Italian, Egyptian, and American schools, then earned a B.A. from the American University in Cairo. After war service with the British 8th Army in North Africa, Italy, and Austria, he taught for two years at the American University in Cairo. He then moved to Scotland, was awarded a doctorate by the University of Edinburgh in 1951, and joined its faculty. In 1975, he was appointed Professor of Arabic Language and Literature in Columbia University. He retired in 1991. Most of his publications have been on modern Arabic literature and on Arabic folk literature.