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The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction, 2nd Edition

Matti Moosa
ISBN: 978-0-89410-683-5
1997/458 pages/LC: 97-21883


The first edition of this book, completed in 1970, was hailed as a major contribution to scholarship on the development of Arabic fiction in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this revised and greatly expanded second edition, Matti Moosa has added five entirely new chapters—one on the popular dialogues of Abd Allah Nadim, and four devoted to twentieth century fiction culminating with the novels of Maguib Mahfouz. He has also incorporated the results of more than two decades of fresh research.

Moosa's exhaustive discussion, demonstrating the influence of both Western and Islamic ideology and culture, presents many works of fiction for the first time to Western students of Arabic literature.


Matti Moosa's many publications on Arabic literature and Middle East history include Gibran in Paris, The Maronites in History, Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects, and The Early Novels of Naguib Mahfouz: Images of Modern Egypt.


  • Introduction.
  • Historical Beginnings: Egypt.
  • The Rise of the Arab Drama in Egypt.
  • Yaqub Sanu and the Rise of the Arab Drama in Europe.
  • Abd Allah Nadim and the Art of Popular Dialogue.
  • The Translation of Western Fiction.
  • The Revival of the Maqama.
  • Salim al-Bustani and the Beginning of Modern Arabic Fiction.
  • From Salim al-Bustani to Jurji Zaydan: Francis Marrash and Numan Abduh al-Qasatili.
  • Jurji Zaydan and the Arab Historical Novel.
  • Arabic Fiction Comes of Age.
  • The Growth of the Egyptian Novel.
  • The Egyptian Modernists and the Novel.
  • Naguib Mahfouz: The Voice of Egypt.