Ayyam, Naguib Mahfouz, Zaynab, Nahda, Nobel Prize
The Nahda, a renaissance of Arabic literary culture that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was centered in Egypt. At that time many Christian journalists from Syria immigrated to Cairo and founded several newspapers and magazines, which disseminated modern concepts of science, society, and culture. Arabic short stories first appeared in Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Zaynab (1914), by Egyptian writer Muhammad Husayn Haykal, is often erroneously considered to be the first Arabic novel.
Other leading Egyptian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries include Taha Husayn, known for his autobiography al-Ayyam (The Days, 3 volumes, 1925-1967); Yusuf Idris, considered the master of the Arabic short story and also a noted dramatist; Naguib Mahfouz, a celebrated novelist and winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for literature; and Sonallah Ibrahim, who has experimented boldly with the novel form. Tawfiq al-Hakim, whose novel The Return of the Spirit (1933) was a favorite of Gamal Abdel Nasser, is known for both fiction and dramatic writing.
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