Politicising World Literature: Egypt, Between Pedagogy and the Public, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Politicising World Literature

Egypt, Between Pedagogy and the Public, 1st Edition

By May Hawas


222 pages

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Hardback: 9781138327627
pub: 2019-04-16
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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.


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

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

About the Author

Dr. May Hawas is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures

Edited in collaboration with the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury, Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures presents a wide range of research into postcolonial literatures by specialists in the field. Volumes concentrate on writers and writing originating in previously (or presently) colonized areas, and include material from non-anglophone as well as anglophone colonies and literatures.

Part of our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections, this series considers postcolonial literature alongside topics such as gender, race, ecology, religion, politics, and science. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics. Series editors: Donna Landry and Caroline Rooney

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics