Thebes at War
By Naguib Mahfouz
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400076697, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 18, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Known and loved throughout Egypt as a work that celebrates the national character, Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s Thebes at War tells of a high point in Egyptian history–ancient Egypt’s defeat of Asiatic foreigners who had dominated northern Egypt for two hundred years.
With a visit from a court official and a provocative insult, the southern pharaoh’s long simmering resentment boils over, leading him to commit himself and his heirs to an epic struggle for the throne. Filled with the grand clash of armies, staggering defeats, daring escapes, and glorious victories, and written at a time when Egypt was again under the sway of foreign powers, Thebes at War is a resounding call to remember Egypt’s long and noble history.
Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer in Arabic to do so. He died in August 2006.
Humphrey Davies (translator) took first class honors in Arabic at Cambridge University and holds a doctorate in Near East Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. His translations from Egyptian literature range from the Ottoman period to the present day.
“His work is imbued with love for Egypt and its people.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Mahfouz is the single most important writer in modern Arabic literature.” –Newsday
“Mahfouz’s understanding of human psychology and history is profound.” –The Boston Globe
“A storyteller of the first order in any idiom.” –Vanity Fair
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