In 1947, cholera struck Egypt causing around 10,277 deaths from a total of 20,804 cases within a few months. What does the cholera outbreak reveal about Egyptian society at the time? How did different writers and filmmakers respond to it? Although several studies have tackled epidemics and the emergence of medical and public health practice in Egypt from an historical perspective, virtually none to date have seriously examined Egypt’s 1947 cholera epidemic from a literary standpoint. This thesis, by analysing the epidemic through works produced about or during the time of the epidemic, offers a deeper insight into the event itself as well as the social and political circumstances that served as its backdrop. The main works examined are Andrée Chedid’s novel The Sixth Day, Nazik al-Mala’ika’s poem “Cholera”, and Taha Hussein’s short story “Al-Mu‘tazala” (“The Isolated One”). The thesis also refers to the Egyptian film Sira‘ al-Abtal (The Heroes’ Struggle) and a variety of other literary and non-literary sources.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date

Summer 6-15-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Balthazar Beckett

Committee Member 1

Tahia Abdel Nasser

Committee Member 2

Mounira Soliman


65 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item