Known and loved throughout Egypt as a work that celebrates the national character, Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s Thebes at War tells of a high point in Egyptian history–ancient Egypt’s defeat of Asiatic foreigners who had dominated northern Egypt for two hundred years.
With a visit from a court official and a provocative insult, the southern pharaoh’s long simmering resentment boils over, leading him to commit himself and his heirs to an epic struggle for the throne. Filled with the grand clash of armies, staggering defeats, daring escapes, and glorious victories, and written at a time when Egypt was again under the sway of foreign powers, Thebes at War is a resounding call to remember Egypt’s long and noble history.
About the Author
NAGUIB MAHFOUZ was born in 1911 in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He studied philosophy at Cairo University, then worked in various government ministries until his retirement in 1971. His first three published novels were Khufu's Wisdom (1939), Rhadopis of Nubia (1943), and Thebes at War (1944), all of which are set in ancient Egypt. These political and philosophical critiques disguised as historical romances show the unmistakable signs of a burgeoning literary genius. He went on to write more than 35 other novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous cinema plots and scenarios, many of which have been made into successful films. Naguib Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1988. In 2006, he died at the age of 95.
Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of Arabic literature from the Ottoman period to the present. Writers he has translated include Yusuf al-Shirbini, Elias Khoury, Alaa Al Aswany, Bahaa Taher, Muhammad Mustagab, Gamal al-Ghitani, Hamdy el-Gazzar, Khaled Al-Berry, and Ahmed Alaidy. He lives in Cairo.
“His work is imbued with love for Egypt and its people.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Mahfouz is the single most important writer in modern Arabic literature.” –Newsday
“Mahfouz’s understanding of human psychology and history is profound.” –The Boston Globe
“A storyteller of the first order in any idiom.” –Vanity Fair