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Alexandrian CosmopolitanismAn Archive$
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Hala Halim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251766

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251766.001.0001

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(p.271) Epilogue/Prologue
Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism

Hala Halim

Fordham University Press

The epilogue/prologue addresses a variety of engagements with Alexandrian cosmopolitanism and/or with the three canonical authors. A corpus of Alexandrian memoirs by émigrés of foreign or mixed descent—André Aciman, Gini Alhadeff, Lorenzo Montesini, and Victoria Thompson—is analyzed. The argument is made that they betray both “postcolonial melancholia” and self-actualization partly by dint of appealing to Cavafy, Forster and Durrell. The memoirs, it is demonstrated, have given an afterlife to the tropes of colonial cosmopolitan and scholarly misprisions of the canonical authors, further projecting them onto the postindependence Egyptian city. Turning to the Arabic reception of the canonical triumvirate, commentary on the production of Arabic translations of The Alexandria Quartet by two different translators is provided. The discussion then takes up the Egyptian representations of Alexandria by Edwar al-Kharrat, Naguib Mahfouz, and Ibrahim Abdel Meguid. The Egyptian metafictional novel by Tariq Imam, al-Haya al-Thaniya li-Qustantin Kafafi (The Second Life of Constantine Cavafy), that draws on the Alexandrian Greek poet's life and work, as well as Forster's Egyptian sojourn and texts, it is argued, ripostes to Alexandrianism. The closing pages of the book tackle two Egyptian films–Yousry Nasrallah's al-Madina (The City; 1999) and Ibrahim El Batout's Ithaki (2005)–that dialogue with Cavafy's poetry, each taking one of his poems as its title, and refract it toward the sociopolitical.

Keywords:   Alexandrian memoirs, Postcolonial melancholia, Arabic translations of The Alexandria Quartet, Edwar al-Kharrat, Naguib Mahfouz, Tariq Imam, Yousry Nasrallah, Ibrahim El Batout

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