The two volumes of the complete works of Abdullah al-Nadeem
Nosos Abdullah El-Nadeem (Abdullah Al-Nadeem’s Texts), Edited and collected by: Alaa El-Din Mahmoud, (Cairo: Dar Al-Maraya) 2021, 2 Volumes
Dar Al-Maraya Publishing house has published the complete works of Egyptian iconic Writer and Political Activist Abdullah El-Nadeem (1842 – 1896), whose name became synonymous with the Urabi Revolt between 1879 and 1882
The Urabi revolt was a movement against the Egyptian Khedive to end the United Kingdom and France’s influence on Egypt, however it ended with the British occupying Egypt.
The complete works brought to the reader by Alaa El-Din Mahmoud, the editor of the book, introduces the reader to forgotten works of El-Nadeem, some of which were never known before.
The complete works are published in two volumes, the first one comprises the poetry collection of El-Nadeem, which is published in full for the first time since his death. The volume contains every piece of poetry and zajal (a form of colloquial poetry used in dialect) written by El-Nadeem that survived and reached us.
El- Nadeem’s pieces of prose and zajal are engraved in Egyptian memory as they have been used in novels, songs, and TV series that many memorised without necessarily knowing El-Nadeem was behind it.
His witty funny lines embodied deep cynicism of the inequality and disparity between the rich and the poor of his time.
The second volume contains his prosaic works that were published in newspapers at the time. It also includes letters, El-Nadeem wrote to Urabi, the Egyptian colonel who led the revolt against Khedive Tewfik. It also adds a bibliography of everything he wrote from playwrights to literary letters and poetry.
Academic Alaa El-Din Mahmoud, the editor of the two volumes, spent years verifying and tracking Nadeem’s works, which were published in old periodicals and among other texts.
Mahmoud has a PhD in comparative literature from Ain Shams University and specialises in Arab renaissance literature.
The new collection sheds a new light on literary writing in 19th century Egypt and the realities that people lived back then, and gives a new glimpse on the Urabi Revolt.