Taha Hussein

40 Years Gone: The Literary and Social Legacy of Taha Hussein

“I was privileged to touch his face, and how handsome, scholarly and full of inward light it was!”

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5 Must-read Memoirs (and Not-quite-memoirs)

Assembly Journal, for their “five books” series, asked me to come up with a list of five Arabic books. The field was too dizzyingly wide.

Even when I narrowed my topic to “memoirs and not-quite-memoirs,” it was a difficult winnowing process: What about Galal Amin’s Nectar of the Years? Well, it hasn’t been translated into English, so that’s that, I suppose. Sayyid Qutb or Huda Shaarawi’s memoirs, for their historical and political importance? Taha Hussein’s classic The Days? (But hasn’t everyone already read The Days?)