Arabic Literature
English edition  
Nov  2003
206 pp.
Hardbound
15X23 cm
$22.95
LE100
ISBN 978 977 424 806 1
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Khufu’s Wisdom

Naguib Mahfouz
Translated by Raymond Stock

The pharaonic novels of Naguib Mahfouz

Pharaoh Khufu is battling the Fates. At stake is the inheritance of Egypt’s throne, the proud but tender heart of Khufu’s beautiful daughter Princess Meresankh, and Khufu’s legacy as a sage, not savage, ruler. As the tale begins, Khufu is bored in his great palace at Memphis. To entertain him, his architect Mirabu expounds on the mighty masterwork he has so far spent ten years building, with little yet showing above ground—what will become the Great Pyramid of Giza. Mirabu and the clever vizier Hemiunu tempt him with other amusements as well—but to no avail. Then one of the king’s sons fetches a magician with the power to predict the future. The sorcerer says that Khufu’s own offspring will not inherit Egypt’s throne after him, but that it will fall instead to a son born that very morning to the High Priest of Ra. Furious, Khufu and his crown prince, the ruthless Khafra, set out to change the decree of the Fates—which fight back in the form of Djedefra, the boy at the center of the prophecy, and his heart’s desire, Princess Meresankh. Yet will the unsuspecting Khufu survive the intrigue around him—not only to finish his long-awaited book of wisdom, but to become truly wise?
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Naguib Mahfouz was born in 1911 in the crowded Cairo district of Gamaliya. He wrote nearly 40 novel-length works, plus hundreds of short stories and numerous cinema plots and scenarios. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. He died in Cairo on August 30, 2006 at the age of 94. Raymond Stock, a doctoral student in Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania, is writing a biography of Naguib Mahfouz. He is the translator of a collection of short stories by Naguib Mahfouz, Voices from the Other World (AUC Press, 2002).

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