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Nasser in the Egyptian Imaginary

Omar Khalifah

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Examines representations of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egyptian novels, short stories, autobiographies and films

The late President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), has been represented in many major works of Egyptian literature and film, and continues to have a presence in everyday life and discourse in the country. Omar Khalifah’s analysis of these representations focuses on how the historical character of Nasser has emerged in the Egyptian imaginary. He explores the recurrent images of Nasser in literature and film and shows how Nasser constitutes a perfect site for plural interpretations. He argues that Nasser has become a rhetorical device, a figure of speech, a trope that connotes specific images constantly invoked whenever he is mentioned. His study makes a case for literature and art to be seen as alternative archives that question, erase, distort and add to the official history of Nasser.

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Series Editor's Foreword
Note on Transliteration
1. Writing to Nasser
2. Nasser as Fiction
3. Nasser in Fiction
4. Nasser on the Screen
Epilogue: Prospects of a Post-2011 Nasser

About the Author

Omar Khalifah is assistant professor of Arabic Literature and Culture at Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He received his PhD from the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. In addition to modern Arabic Literature, Khalifah’s research interests include memory studies, world literature, and cinema and nationalism in the Arab world.


'In this carefully organized, well written, and abundantly referenced study, Omar Khalifah takes on a fascinating topic. The result is a thoroughly original and important portrait of one of the Arab world's most significant figures in the 20th century, someone whose impact, as the author concludes, continues to resonate across the Arabic-speaking world.'

- Roger Allen, University of Pennsylvania
'Omar Khalifah’s Nasser in the Egyptian Imaginary critically analyses the varied representation of the charismatic Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), in both fiction and film. His image in public memory, as documented by Khalifah, veers from that of an intellectual martyr, a romantic hero, to the ultimate Pharaoh, full of misdeeds. The volume affords an opportunity to learn about the multiple Nassers.'
- Abdur Raheem Kidwai, Aligarh Muslim University, India, The Muslim World Book Review

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