In the Shadow of World Literature
Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt
Princeton University Press 2016
New Books in African StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network August 14, 2017 Nadirah Mansour
Michael Allan‘s In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2016) challenges traditional perceptions of world literature: he argues that the disciplinary framework of world literature levels the differences between different types of literature. He uses colonial Egypt as a geographic focus of inquiry and demonstrates how literary traditions changed the act of reading: his examples include the Rosetta Stone and translations of the Qur’an. He thus demonstrates that literary reading (to be distinguished from how reading was conceptualized in Egypt before the colonial period) requires different ethical capacities and sensibilities and how they were gradually institutionalized by different genres of texts.
NA Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.