Palgrave Studies in Arab Cinema

Barra and Zaman: Reading Egyptian Modernity in Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Mummy

Authors: Rakha, Youssef

Free Preview
  • An innovative work of creative nonfiction, to be read in one piece
  • Draws on academic, literary, and personal material to forge a creative nonfiction approach to writing about film
  • Examines Egypt's postcolonial modernity -- touching on Arab, Muslim, and ancient Egyptian identities -- through the lens of Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Mummy (1969), known in English as The Night of Counting the Years 
  • Written by acclaimed Egyptian novelist, poet, journalist, and photographer, Youssef Rakha
see more benefits

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-61354-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-61353-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
About this book

Brilliantly introduced by Nezar Andary, this book is a work of creative nonfiction that approaches writing on film in a fresh and provocative way. It draws on academic, literary, and personal material to start a dialogue with the Egyptian filmmaker Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Mummy (1969), tracing the many meanings of Egypt’s postcolonial modernity and touching on Arab, Muslim, and ancient Egyptian identities through watching the film. 
          

About the authors

Youssef Rakha is a novelist, poet, journalist, and photographer who writes in both Arabic and English. His work has been widely anthologized and translated into many languages. Born, raised, and based in Cairo, Egypt, Rakha graduated from Hull University, UK, in 1998.


         

Reviews

"Youssef Rakha magnificently takes us on an intellectually stimulating and highly entertaining cultural journey through the frustrations and joys of modern Egypt using Shadi Abdel Salam’s masterpiece The Mummy as a tombstone touchstone. As acerbic, exciting, and politically astute as listening to The Last Poets with Godard-esque jump cuts, this stylish text makes traditional critical analysis feel like tales from the crypt."

 - Kaleem Aftab, film critic, author of Spike Lee: That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It

"An electrifying, cubist portrait of a classic film’s place in the world. Youssef Rakha says that Shadi Abdel Salam’s 'The Mummy' embodies 'a twilight zone of Egyptian modernity.' By writing about patriotism, grief, visual beauty, political entropy, colonialism, and sexuality, he brilliantly takes us into that modernity, that zone. Few people write about cinema with such zigzagging bravura or impertinent seriousness; not often do we get such a three-dimensional context for a film. This book will be as valuable to creative writers as it is to devotees of cinema or Egypt."   

Mark Cousins, film critic and director 

"An anecdotal and ultimately engaging meander through the imagined pasts and disjointed legacies of Egyptian history, setting out from and repeatedly returning to Shadi Abdel Salam's masterpiece. For Rakha, national identity is framed between an estranged antiquity and a failed modernity. Just as the film starts and ends with mourning scenes, his book is a meditation on grief: that of the author for his father, the nation for its leader, and the youth for their future."

Tim Power, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

“In this book, Egyptian novelist Youssef Rakha captures the personal relationship with art that lies beneath all scholarly endeavor, but which too often gets lost in academic analysis. The aphoristic prose recalls Derrida and the sad-faced irony of Vonnegut is never far away. Nezar Andary’s foreword adds to the effect by calling up veils and cocoons to imagine how audiences get ‘wrapped up’ in cinema. A thoughtful and moving work of creative nonfiction.”

Kevin Blankinship, Brigham Young University, USA

 "In a series of numbered paragraphs loosely following the unfolding of Shadi Abdel Salam’s sole masterpiece The Mummy, Youssef Rakha recounts Egypt’s fraught encounter with modernity. But this is a psychologized double telling, for we see Egypt through two prisms: that of the film’s story and that of Rakha’s autobiography. Both revolve around the search for an expansive Egyptian identity that extends in time and space. And both are painfully aware of the impossible entanglements that shaped that identity in the last two centuries. The superposition of the two narratives deepens the contradictions to the point that the denouement at the end astonishes in its simplicity. But I would not reveal it. Read this erudite, candid, and soul-searching essay to find out."

- Nasser Rabbat, Massachussets Institute of Technology, USA

"I’ve never seen The Mummy, but it’s now one of my favorite films. This is an essay about a movie. It’s also a wonderfully entertaining exploration of Egyptian myths and political realities from Ramses the Great to Mohammed El Baradei, the frankly disappointing, and it’s a cultural autobiography, as Youssef Rakha syncs ideas of colonialism and cosmopolitanism with an elegant reading of modern literature and cinema. Find the film, read Rakha’s books, think about Egypt."

- Peter Florence, Director, Hay Festival



Table of contents (2 chapters)

Table of contents (2 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-61354-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-61353-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions & severe weather in the US may cause delays
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

Services for this book

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Barra and Zaman: Reading Egyptian Modernity in Shadi Abdel Salam’s The Mummy
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Arab Cinema
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Pivot
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-61354-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-61354-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-61353-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 111
Number of Illustrations
10 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour
Topics