© 2019

Popular Fiction, Translation and the Nahda in Egypt


Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Samah Selim
    Pages 1-20
  3. Samah Selim
    Pages 21-46
  4. Samah Selim
    Pages 47-69
  5. Samah Selim
    Pages 97-133
  6. Samah Selim
    Pages 135-156
  7. Samah Selim
    Pages 157-172
  8. Samah Selim
    Pages 173-199
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 201-232

About this book


This book is a critical study of the translation and adaptation of popular fiction into Arabic at the turn of the twentieth century. It examines the ways in which the Egyptian nahda discourse with its emphasis on identity, authenticity and renaissance suppressed various forms of cultural and literary creation emerging from the encounter with European genres as well as indigenous popular literary forms and languages. The book explores the multiple and fluid translation practices of this period as a form of ‘unauthorized’ translation that was not invested in upholding nationalist binaries of originality and imitation. Instead, translators experimented with radical and complex forms of adaptation that turned these binaries upside down. Through a series of close readings of novels published in the periodical The People’s Entertainments, the book explores the nineteenth century literary, intellectual, juridical and economic histories that are constituted through translation, and outlines a comparative method of reading that pays particular attention to the circulation of genre across national borders.


Egypt Arabic European Fiction Translation Twentieth-Century The People's Entertainment

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick, NJUSA

About the authors

Samah Selim is Associate Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University, USA. She is the author of The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt, 1880-1985 (2004).

Bibliographic information


“Selim’s is an original, readable, and witty contribution to both translation studies and Nahda studies. Future researchers will have to reckon with her thoroughly researched arguments and ideas.” (Ziad Elmarsafy, Professor of Comparative Literature, King’s College London, UK)