travel accounts before being published in various book editions. Roger Allen traces the development of these texts that are now “an important early monument to modern Arabic narrative”.
In honour of Mutstafa Badawi, Marilyn Booth, now Khaled bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor of the Study of the Contemporary Arab World at the University of Oxford, returns to and expands on the topic of a dissertation she worked on as a student directed by Badawi and Albert Hourani – the works of Mahmoud Bayram alTunisi (1893-1961) in writings published in Al-Shabab newspaper 1921–2. Miriam Cooke recalls that in the 1950s two of Mustafa Badawi’s later doctoral students left Iraq for Israel – Sasson Somekh and David Semah. In “Jewish Arabs in the Israeli Asylum: A Literary Reflection”, she writes how the two “held on to their mother tongue” of Arabic and studied for their PhDs under Badawi. She goes on to examine how other Jewish Arab intellectuals from Iraq and other countries fared in the Israeli state.
Paul Starkey, Emeritus Professor of Arabic at the University of Durham, writes about Youssef Rakha’s innovative Kitab al-Tughra (Book of the Sultan’s Seal), which came out very soon after Cairo’s mass protests in January-February 2011, and his translation of it into English. He describes in detail the work’s “formidable proportions”, its “grounding in the medieval tradition” and its “complex structure”, which gave “more than a touch of al-Shidyaq to Rakha’s work”. Wondering what Badawi would be made of it, Starkey concludes that both men have in common “an ability to use Arabic and English with almost equal fluency, and to navigate the literary traditions of the two languages with almost equal ease”.
Abdul-Nabi Isstaif considers a topical “Comparative Approach to Arabic Literature”, looking at the connections of Arabic literature and its “unique experience of encounter with the literatures of the world”, making a plea for comprehensive reassessment. Elisabeth Kendall rounds off the volume with an investigation, entitled “Does Literature Matter”, into the links between literature and politics in today’s Egypt, looking at the ways each informed the other, as well as the role of writers as “guardians of the nation” over the last few years. Lack of space prohibits a fuller review, but suffice to say that Mustafa Badawi’s legacy has been to open up an ever expanding range and depth of study of contemporary Arabic literature.
194 BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015