Politicising World Literature: Egypt, Between Pedagogy and the Public engages with postcolonial and world literature approaches to examine the worldly imaginary of the novel genre and assert the political imperative to teaching world literature. How does canonising world literature relate to societal, political or academic reform? Alternating between close reading of texts and literary history, this monograph studies a corpus of novels and travelogues in English, Arabic, French, Czech and Italian to historicise Egypt’s literary relations with different parts of the world in both the modern period and the pre-modern period. In this rigorous study, May Hawas argues that protagonists, particularly in times of political crises, locate themselves as individuals with communal or political affiliations that supersede, if not actually resist, national affiliations.
Table of Contents
1. Love in the Time of World Crises: Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Waguih Ghali’s Beer in the Snooker Club
2. "Moving Like Rivers Through Us": Individual and Global Landscapes in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions and Leila Ahmed’s A Border Passage
3. The Case of the Strange Familiarity Between Andrea Camilleri and Tawfik al-Hakim
4. Circumnavigating the Canon: Amitav Ghosh’s Antique Land and the Long Tenth Century
Conclusion: World Literature: Negotiation and Equilibrium
Dr. May Hawas is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo.
A wonderfully fresh and unpredictable voice in the sometimes all too predictable debates between world literature and postcolonial studies.
--Bruce Robbins, Columbia University
This book is an important and timely intervention in the fields of world literature, the postcolonial novel, and literary history and criticism. Hawas’s attention to aesthetics and pedagogy in her reading of a wide range of literary texts is remarkable.
--Kifah Hanna, Trinity College