Google Doodle Honors Taha Hussein

I didn’t see it yesterday, but Google Egypt reportedly celebrated the 121st birthday of Taha Hussein (the “dean of Arabic literature”) with the pictured “doodle.”

His 121st birthday—had he lived to such an age—would’ve been yesterday, November 14.

Also in celebration, the translation website Meedan has a round-up of recent news and information about Hussein, who has, in recent years, become a cultural dividing line in Egypt. There have been attempts to remove Hussein’s seminal The Days from the Egyptian school curriculum because, according to opponents, it tarnishes Al Azhar’s image. Others have accused Hussein of being irreligious and pro-Zionist. (He is defended against the pro-Zionism charges here.)

Little of his work has received careful English-language translation. And still…what a beautiful writer! Even in stumbling translation, his Call of the Curlew and Tree of Misery are lovely.

Previous Google doodles have celebrated Umm Kulsoum and “prince of poets” Ahmed Shawky.