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Nile Crossings: Hospitality and Revenge in Egyptian Rural Narratives

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This essay looks at acts of hospitality and revenge as constituent elements of a broad social code in rural Egyptian narratives. By looking at five stories in particular, I argue that hospitality and revenge work in complementarity, and that they often trespass and blur each other’s social and literary borders, creating ambiguity and complexity in the stories. The traditional rules that govern hospitality are at times challenged or inverted by hostile intentions, and revenge may be exacted for common or personal well-being. Also, the Nile River, richly symbolic of Egyptian history and identity, plays a vital role in situating the self, in all its pristine, bifurcated, and sullied forms.

Affiliations: 1: Harvard University


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