May 6, 2013 The Life and Works of Naguib Mahfouz Subject of Symposium

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Public Contact: Fawzi Tadros (202) 707-7311
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Egyptian author and screen playwright Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006), the 1988 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature, is the subject of an international symposium to be held at the Library of Congress on May 14, 2013. The conference will be held 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Room 119 in the Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, and the Educational and Cultural Office of the Egyptian Embassy. Reservations are not required.

“The 34 works by Naguib Mahfouz represent perhaps the most powerful literary portrayal of the immense changes that have taken place in Egypt between World War II and the end of the 20th century,” said Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division. “Mahfouz accomplished his work through a deft, deep and complex description of the life of the residents of Cairo, both ordinary and extraordinary. This international symposium offers the Library of Congress an opportunity to foster a greater awareness of this prominent Egyptian literary figure, whose works are not only important to readers in the Arab world but more broadly to many in the global community.”

Mahfouz’s writings, which have been translated into many languages, offer insights into universal themes and ideas on love, alienation, adolescent development and aging.

Six scholars will discuss various aspects of Mahfouz’s work:

  • Roger Allen of the University of Pennsylvania will present a retrospective analysis of Mahfuz’s writings.
  • Valerie Anishchenkova of the University of Maryland will discuss the treatment of Mahfouz’s work in film.
  • Marius Deeb of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies will speak about the symbolism of names in Mahfouz’s work.
  • Ahmed Shams El Din El Hajjaji of Cairo University will examine myth in Mahfouz’s work “al-Harafish.”
  • William Hutchins of Appalachian State University will discuss the process of translating Mahfouz’s novels into English.
  • Fawzi Tadros of the Library of Congress will present a review of Mahfouz’s novel, “A Beginning and an End.”

A film adaptation of Mahfouz’s novel, “The Thief and the Dogs” will be shown during the symposium.

The Near East Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division holds the works of Mahfuz in Arabic in several editions. Mahfouz’s works in European languages are held in the general collection of the Library of Congress. Selected items will be on display during the symposium, in Room 113.

The African and Middle Eastern Division was established in 1978 as part of a reorganization that combined the Near East Section, the African Section and the Hebraic Section. Together they cover some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit the African and Middle Eastern Division at

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at


PR 13-087
ISSN 0731-3527