This study provides an analysis of the social and political meanings in the protest vernacular poetry of Aḥmad Fu'âd Nigm (b. 1929), the contemporary Eqyptian socialist poet. Nigm's work portrays Eqypt as a society composed of contending social forces and it is concerned with the cause of liberating Egypt from class inequality and political oppression. For Nigm, the way to achieve such liberation is through a people's revolution that will ultimately pave the way for a new socialist society.
Nigm's commitment to the causes of his society is enhanced by his use of the simple, yet evocative, colloquial, an idiom which is close to the mind and heart of Egypt's poor and illiterate people. Moreover, Nigm deftly utilises different folk poetic forms, folk idioms and pungent witticisms to convey his socialist message.
Consequently, Nigm's poetry enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, especially when sung to the melodious tune of the 'ûd by Shaykh Imâm, Nigm's partner. Being an example of genuine popular expression, Nigm's protest appears to pose a challenge to the political establishment, which considers Nigm as a provocateur, as well as to the majority of scholars to whom vernacular works have no place in their canonical definition of "high" literature.


Kamal Abdel-Malek

This volume is a fascinating, interpretative study of the life of the Prophet Muḥammad as depicted in the repertoire of fifty-one contemporary Egyptian singers. The repertoire is extremely diverse and ranges from narrative ballads, classical odes, and Qur’ānic chantings, to melodies of the secular songs of well-known Egyptian singers. The 'people's' Muḥammad appears as both a commanding figure, empowered by the supernatural, and a touchingly vulnerable human being, and provides this study with excellent material for its discussion of a subject that has not received much serious scholarly attention to date.

Tradition, Modernity, and Postmodernity in Arabic Literature

Essays in Honor of Professor Issa J. Boullata

Edited by Kamal Abdel-Malek and Wael Hallaq

The collection of essays contained in this volume is written by a group of prominent scholars of Arabic literature. They explore various manifestations of traditional as well as modern and postmodern themes and techniques in Arabic literature.
This is the first time the tripartite concepts of tradition, modernity, and postmodernity in Arabic literary works are explored and analyzed in one volume. It illustrates very clearly the fact that Arabic literature has kept abreast not only of the primarily modern literary movements in the West - that is amply illustrated by many studies to date - but also of the "postmodern condition".
Scholars in the fields of Arabic literature, Islamic Studies, Comparative Literature, postmodern studies, among others, will find this collection of essays of great interest.