The Individual and the Authority Figure in Egyptian Prose Literature explores and analyses political conflicts between individuals and authority figures, as those conflicts are depicted in thirteen Egyptian novels written from 1957 to the last years of Mubarak's presidency. The book discusses the various reasons that lead an individual or a group of people from all strata of society (common people, intellectuals, and public figures) to confront policemen, senior security officials, and even the heads of the state. It further examines how the conflicts develop and what their outcomes are in the short term as well as in the long term, for both the individuals and the authority figures. In this context, the volume also examines the possibility of standing against an oppressive regime and even overcoming it.
This text argues that while the authority figure initially subdues individuals who confront them, their victory is short term. In the long term, their cruelties bring about sown deaths, either by the individuals themselves or by their relatives. Furthermore, large assemblies of people can confront the regime with success. These discoveries, along with other findings presented in the book, remain relevant to the reality in the Middle East and the events leading to the Arab Spring.
Yona Sheffer received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Department of Arabic Language and Literature. Dr. Sheffer currently teaches Introduction to Arabic Literature at The Polis Institute of Languages and Humanities in Jerusalem, and is Assistant Researcher for the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Recent publications include The Individual versus Officialdom in Egyptian Prose Fiction since the 1952 Revolution. Tel-Aviv: Resling, 2015 (Hebrew), and a Translation from Arabic to Hebrew of an autobiography by Meir Muallem: A Piece of Life: Memoirs from Iraq (Jerusalem: Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, 2011).