THE WRITERS IN THE ALLEY: STATE LEGITIMACY AND LITERATURE IN NASSER’S EGYPT, 1952-1967
MetadataShow full item record
In 1952 Gamal Abdel Nasser and his clique of disaffected young officers launched ‘the Free Officer’s Coup,’ deposing the monarchy, overturning the parliamentary system, and launching a durable regime that defined the face of Egypt in the second half of the twentieth century. This thesis examines the relationship between Nasser and Egypt’s intellectuals, and takes preeminent writers Naguib Mahfouz and Yusuf Idris to reveal the social environment in which this relationship took place. The literary and historical evidence reveals a lively relationship of contestation, critique, accommodation, dependence, and acclamation. Promulgating reformist domestic policies and defiantly nationalist foreign policies, Nasser earned legitimization from intellectuals. His regime endeavored to establish hegemony over Egyptian civil society, an effort resisted and repulsed by intellectuals. Inspired by the most relevant theoretical literature on intellectuals, namely the work of Julien Benda, Antonio Gramsci, and Edward Said, this thesis reveals responsibilities and challenges faced by intellectuals everywhere.