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In the Tavern of Life and Other Stories

Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated by William Maynard Hutchins
In the Tavern of Life and Other Stories
ISBN: 978-0-89410-648-4
ISBN: 978-0-89410-649-1
1998/232 pages

"William Maynard Hutchins has carefully selected and translated [these] tales.... This collection exhibits [al-Hakim's] prolific and multifarious talent as he invokes different worlds and atmospheres, and transfers his readers to distant eras and unfamiliar states of being in a condensed poetic manner."—Dina Amin, MESA Bulletin

 "Going through these excellent translations, one gets the feeling that Tawfiq Al-Hakim wrote the short stories as a kind of recreation between novels and plays....All reflect a happy combination of reality and imagination."—Mursi Saad El-Din, Al-Ahram

"[This] is the first collection of [al-Hakim’s] stories to be published in English, beautifully rendered by William Maynard Hutchins.... Whether they are inspired by Egyptian social conditions or by readings in the literary tradition, they consistently offer food for thought by their underlying serious analysis of ideas, even when they are comical, and by their critical views of reality."—World Literature Today

"Al-Hakim is best known for his playwriting but was no less prolific as an essayist and composer of narrative. The 27 stories presented in this eminently readable translation persuasively highlight the interconnections among these genres.... Recommended for all academic collections, stories in this volume can be perused and analyzed by students of literature, literary form, and area studies at all levels."—Choice


This first collection of al-Hakim’s stories to be published in English includes 27 of the author’s best works written from 1927 to 1966. Some inspired by literature and others by Egyptian social conditions, the stories range from mock-autobiographical to science fiction and folk fantasy to allegory and philosophy.


Tawfiq al-Hakim (1898–1987) is considered one of the most significant figures in twentieth-century Arabic literature. Al-Hakim is also known as the founder of modern Egyptian drama.William Maynard Hutchins is renowned for his translations of Tawfiq al-Hakim’s work, as well as of Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy and the novels of Fadhil al-Azzawi, Ibrahim al-Koni, Hassan Nasr, and others. He is also author of Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide. He is professor of Islamic and religious studies at Appalachian State University.