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Rhadopis of Nubia Paperback – March 8, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Mahfouz’s characters blaze with intensity, his Egypt pulsates with unresolved tensions.” –The Atlanta Constitution

“Through works rich in nuance–now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous–Mahfouz has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind.” –The Swedish Academy, The Nobel Prize in Literature

“Mahfouz’s novels provide a voice for his culture.” –The Denver Post

“He is not only a Hugo and a Dickens, but also a Galsworthy, a Mann, a Zola and a Jules Romains.” –Edward Said, London Review of Books

About the Author

Naguib Mahfouz was born in Cairo in 1911 and began writing when he was seventeen. A student of philosophy and an avid reader, his works range from reimaginings of ancient myths to subtle commentaries on contemporary Egyptian politics and culture. Over a career that lasted more than five decades, he wrote 33 novels, 13 short story anthologies, numerous plays, and 30 screenplays. Of his many works, most famous is The Cairo Trilogy, consisting of Palace Walk (1956), Palace of Desire (1957), and Sugar Street (1957), which focuses on a Cairo family through three generations, from 1917 until 1952. In 1988, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first writer in Arabic to do so. He died in August 2006.

Anthony Calderbank is the translator of Zaat by Sonallah Ibrahim and two novels by Miral al-Tahawy, The Tent and Blue Aubergine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (March 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400076684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400076680
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,512,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
The power struggle between the civil (political) and religious authorities is a favorite theme of Naguib Mahfouz (see also, Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth).
At that epoch in Egypt, half of the lands of the kingdom belong to the priesthood. But for reasons of prestige, the very ambitious and jealous Pharaoh wants to build new palaces and needs therefore new land and vast new resources. He finds nothing better than to annex the temple domains to the lands of the crown.
This annexation is a very dangerous bet, because the priests constitute a formidable social force. They reign over the hearts and the minds of the people via the temple sermons and the educational network.
The psychological struggle for the heart of the people reaches a new high when the Pharaoh falls in love with a demonic beauty, the courtesan Rhadopis. He squanders vast amounts of gold to construct a new palace for his favorite. But, the religious authorities begin to sap his prestige.

For Naguib Mahfouz, the Pharaoh is the symbol of Egypt and the Egyptians, lovers of female beauties and luxury and squanderers of big fortunes.
They pose the eternal question: Shouldn't we live by the gospel of hedonism, 'Carpe Diem'? The tomb is said to be the door of heaven. But, no one has ever emerged from that door to reassure our hearts. What did the powerful win by exercising their power? What did they get in return from the riches they tried to acquire during their whole life? Smoke.
On the other hand, pleasure is pleasure! Everything that isn't beauty is worth just nothing.

In this strong novel, where the innocence of art is used as the ultimate means to achieve dubious purposes, Naguib Mahfouz raises and answers crucial questions in the life of every human being.
A must read for all lovers of world literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Great Pyr on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No doubt it's a finally crafted piece of literature. How ever I like accurate history as part of Historical fiction and the author combines ancient Egyptian history with Greek History from two very different eras. As allegory it's worth reading but not quite up to Homer. I recommend it for those wanting to sample this Nobel prize winner. Just don't confuse it with historical fiction and ignore the map in the front. It has nothing to do with the story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mease on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a great improvement over the English translation of 'Khufu's Wisdom,' which was already a fair work or literature. 'Rhadopis' presents an amazing story of love, power and consequences. The translator has a brilliant sense of rhythm that makes the work incredibly readable and entertaining. The work uses classical themes as well as political allegory; it is, simply, a great read.
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