Abstract

Maurice Shammas (Abu Farid) stands out among writers whose literary works represent Jewish life in modern Egypt. His collection of short stories Al-shaykh shabtay wa-ÿikayat min ÿarat al-yahud [Sheik Shabbtai and Stories from Ḣarat al-Yahud (1979)] and his memoir 'Azza, hafidat nifirtiti ['Azza, Nefertiti's Granddaughter (2003)], written in Arabic, represent not the wealthy cosmopolittans, but rather the poor residents of Cairo's ḥarat al-yahud. This article explores Shammas's representations of the city, arguing that for Shammas the city's textuality is not primarily visual or material, but aural. The spaces of the city are defined by the sounds that fill them: Arabic music and the musicality of Arabic, verbal and non-verbal human expression, and the noise of the structures of the city themselves. This article also traces and unpacks the intertwined tropes of nationalism and urban localism, cosmopolitanism and parochialism, language and identity in Shammas's writings.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 138-162
Launched on MUSE
2007-02-19
Open Access
No
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