Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Many institutions, colleagues, friends, and loving family members have been instrumental in the process of bringing this book to publication.
I am grateful to Bard College for its generous support of my research since I joined its faculty in 2008. I thank the National Endowment for the Humanities for funding research for chapters 4 and 5 while I was a fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt....

Note on Transliteration

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-17

This is a book about the history of the Arabic novel, but it will not be a tale so much of nation as of capital—finance capital in particular—in an age, much like our own, of speculation and empire; and while Fictitious Capital ends in Egypt, the history it charts does not begin there, but in Ottoman Syria. For a curiously long time, Egyptian lawyer Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal’s 1914 novel Zaynab marked the beginning of the Arabic novel. That narrative was consolidated in...

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1. In the Garden: Serialized Arabic Fiction and Its Reading Public—Beirut, 1870

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pp. 18-39

In early 1870, the private Arabic press in Beirut encountered a time of telegraph-enabled global simultaneity, its immanent future of unfettered progress punctuated weekly and fortnightly by serialized novels: riwāyāt.1 That year, early installments of both Salīm al-Bustānī’s al-Huyām fī jinān al-Shām and Yūsuf al-Shalfūn’s al-Shābb al-maghrūr unfurled in the gardens of Damascus. The Arabic press and its novels renegotiated the classical anthology’s trope of the garden as well as...

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2. Like a Butterfly Stirring within a Chrysalis: Salīm al-Bustānī, Yūsuf al-Shalfūn, and the Remainder to Come

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pp. 40-63

If Beirut’s Arabic press could be figured in 1870 as an Eden of material and literary progress, a refuge of hope, it also registered a sense of anxiety. Silk was industrializing, French networks of credit were eclipsing Ottoman taxation practices, and the future of sericulture was anything but certain. Two 1870 serialized Arabic novels (riwāyāt) discussed in chapter 1—Salīm al-Bustānī’s al-Huyām fī jinān al-Shām (Love in the gardens of Damascus), unfolding in...

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3. Fictions of Capital in 1870s and 1880s Beirut

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pp. 64-84

Over the course of the 1870s and early 1880s, the Beirut press confronted the contradictions that finance capital wrought in the region. Bankruptcies were announced to readers who comprised a new class of rising financiers, merchants, factory owners, and perhaps a factory worker or two; Beirut was imagined as an “Arab Paris” even as Paris and its Commune were burning; and though early serialized Arabic novels would begin in the gardens of Aleppo and Damacus, their plots...

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4. Mourning the Nahḍah: From Beirut to Cairo, after Midnight

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pp. 85-104

In the early 1880s, the capital flight feared in early 1870s Beirut was unfolding: silk returns were down, waves of emigration persisted, and Cairo was to soon become the capital of the Arabic novel and the literary press.1 Cairo would inherit from Beirut its doubts as to the remainder that was to come: textiles markets, grounded in futures, would disappoint; the ruses of the card table would continue to proliferate; intellectual communities and the reading public would become...

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5. Of Literary Supplements, Second Editions, and the Lottery: The Rise of Jurjī Zaydān

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pp. 105-118

Migrating from Beirut to Cairo, Al-Muqtaṭaf and its editors, having eulogized the untimely loss of Salīm al-Bustānī in Beirut in 1884, now inherited the disappointed hopes of that city. Fāris Nimr, Yaʿqūb Ṣarrūf, Jurjī Zaydān, and many other Syrian émigrés arrived in British-occupied Egypt as finance capital was gambling on future fictions. If Khalīl al-Khūrī, Yūsuf al-Shalfūn, and Salīm al-Bustānī had serialized Beirut novels of the fictions of capital attending sericulture...

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6. It Was Cotton Money Now: Novel Material in Yaʿqūb Ṣarrūf’s Turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century Cairo

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pp. 119-135

Initially suspicious of the genre, by the early 1900s, Al-Muqtaṭaf editor Yaʿqūb Ṣarrūf began to translate and finally pen his own novels, published in monthly literary supplements to the journal. The speculative boom in stocks, cotton land, and Cairo real estate that would soon culminate in the crash of 1907 served as both the material for his first novel—Fatāt Miṣr (The girl of Egypt), serialized over the course of 1905—as well as the stuff of his own finances. It was something...

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Coda

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pp. 136-138

The novels studied in Fictitious Capital enact fictions of capital in Arabic in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as French and British empire intensifies in the region through the industrializing silk and cotton markets, securities exchanges, real estate speculation, and the stock market. Often urban tales of Damascus, Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria, connected like the Arabic press by carriage, steamship, train, the telegraph, commodities, empires, and the desire to be...

Notes

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pp. 139-164

Bibliography

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pp. 165-174

Index

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pp. 175-179