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Egypt’s Uzbek Mirror: Muammad al-Mansī Qandīl’s Post-Soviet Islamic Humanism

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[AbstractThis article interrogates the post-Soviet Central Asian setting of Egyptian writer Muammad Mansī Qandīl’s novel Qamar alā Samarqand (2004). Unusually for an Arabic literary work set in the post-Soviet space, Qamar expresses no nostalgia for Communist ideals. Instead it uses Uzbekistan as a double mirror for Nasser- and Sadat-era Egypt, grimly exposing life under authoritarian rule and also, more remarkably, conjuring an alternative humanist utopia based not in socialism but in the mythopoetic and spiritual resources of the classical Islamic tradition. Heavily expurgated at first and later republished in full, Qamar illustrates the richness of the Arab-Soviet cultural nexus and the continuing provocativeness of the literary works it has inspired., Abstract This article interrogates the post-Soviet Central Asian setting of Egyptian writer Muḥammad Mansī Qandīl’s novel Qamar ʿalā Samarqand (2004). Unusually for an Arabic literary work set in the post-Soviet space, Qamar expresses no nostalgia for Communist ideals. Instead it uses Uzbekistan as a double mirror for Nasser- and Sadat-era Egypt, grimly exposing life under authoritarian rule and also, more remarkably, conjuring an alternative humanist utopia based not in socialism but in the mythopoetic and spiritual resources of the classical Islamic tradition. Heavily expurgated at first and later republished in full, Qamar illustrates the richness of the Arab-Soviet cultural nexus and the continuing provocativeness of the literary works it has inspired.]

Affiliations: 1: Boston University1, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

10.1163/157006411X596113
/content/journals/10.1163/157006411x596113
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/content/journals/10.1163/157006411x596113
2011-01-01
2016-12-09

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