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(7,296 words)

Author(s): Vial, Ch. | Afshar, I. | Dumont, P.
(a.), article. 1. In Arabic This maṣdar mīmī from the root ḳ-w-l “to say”, has etymologically the sense of “statement”, “utterance”, etc. It will be noted, however, that in a typical hundred pages of text from the classical period, it is found only once with this “oral” sense (Ch. Vial, ¶ Al-Ǧāḥiẓ , quatre essais, ii, Cairo 1979, 132). On the other hand, its usage in contemporary Arabic is remarkably frequent, all the more so in that its sense is henceforward almost exclusively related to the written rather than the spoken text. The modern user designates by the word maḳāl or maḳāla

Maḥmūd Taymūr

(2,603 words)

Author(s): Vial, Ch.
(born in Cairo 16 June) 1894, died in Lausanne 25 April 1973), Egyptian writer whose prolific output includes novels and short stories, theatrical pieces, accounts of journeys, articles and various studies, in particular relating to Arabic language and literature. He is beyond doubt the best known of the Taymūr family, although his brother Ṃuhammad (1892-1921) was a talented short-story writer and dramatist. Hagiography has claimed the most remote origins for this family. Henceforward, the most reliable source for information on these origins is “the story…


(24,795 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Vial, Ch. | Flemming, B. | İz, Fahīr | Elwell-Sutton, L.P. | Et al.
(a.), pl. ḳiṣaṣ , the term which, after a long evolution, is now generally employed in Arabic for the novel, whilst its diminutive uḳṣūṣa , pl. aḳāṣīṣ , has sometimes been adopted, notably by Maḥmūd Taymūr [ q.v.] as the equivalent of “novella, short story”, before being ineptly replaced by a calque from the English “short story”, ḳiṣṣa ḳaṣīra . The sections of the following article are largely devoted to these literary genres as they are cultivated in the various Islamic literatures, even if the word ḳiṣṣa is not itself used by them. Although some Berber tongues use the Arabic term ( Iḳiṣṣt


(3,759 words)

Author(s): Vial, Ch.
, Ibrāhim ʿAbd al-Ḳādir , Egyptian writer, translator, poet and journalist (1890-1949). He was the son of an ʿālim of al-Azhar who became a judge at the s̲h̲arʿī tribunal of Cairo; his maternal grandmother came originally from Mecca. On the completion of his secondary studies, he entered the Teachers’ Training College, since his family was not sufficiently wealthy to enable him to pursue any other career. Licensed as a secondary school teacher in 1909, he was appointed teacher of English at the Madrasa Saʿīdiyya where he remained fo…

Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal

(1,047 words)

Author(s): Vial, Ch.
(b. 20 August 1888, d. December 1956), Egyptian writer of the first rank. He participated, with several of his contemporaries (al-ʿAḳḳād, al-Māzinī, Ṭāhā Ḥusayn, etc.) in the formation in his country of a liberal way of thought and a modern literature marked by attachment to Muslim values, the influence of Europe and consciousness of an Egyptian specificity. Having graduated in law from Cairo in 1909, he won a scholarship to France, and in 1913 presented his thesis in law on “The Egyptian Debt”. On his return from Cairo, he published in 1914 his first novel, Zaynab , …


(1,303 words)

Author(s): Vial, Ch.
, Muṣṭafā Luṭfī (1293-1343/1876-1924), Egyptian writer and poet. Born in al-Manfalūṭ (Upper Egypt), then going to live in Cairo, al-Manfalūṭī never attended any teaching institutions except al-Azhar. He later composed poems which appeared in the press; one was published in 1904 by Faraḥ Anṭūn’s magazine al-D̲j̲āmiʿa . By the very traditional character of his art, he belongs among the great Egyptian poets of the age. Like them, he cultivated the still flourishing genre of occasional poetry. His composition of epic poems…