Revolution and Cien años de soledad in Naguib Mahfouz's Layālī alf laylah

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English & Comparative Literature Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Comparative Literature Studies

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This article compares two important political novels of the second half of the twentieth century: the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cien anos de soledad (1967) (One Hundred Years of Solitude) and the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz's Layali alf laylah (1982) (Arabian Nights and Days). Mahfouz's Layali alf laylah, a modern Arab adaptation of The Thousand and One Nights, offers, I argue, a reworking of the style of magical realism popularized by Garcia Marquez in his masterwork Cien alios de soledad. Examining Mahfouz's inspiration by Garcia Marquez's Cien anos de soledad reveals a connection between two world literatures that reflects the importance of other, non-Western literature to Arab writers. A reading of Mahfouz's novel through the influence of Garcia Marquez's Cien anos de soledad provides an understanding of some of the literary connections between Latin American and Arabic literatures by focusing on Garcia Marquez's mythologizing of Latin American history and Mahfouz's allegory of Egyptian politics in the 1970s.

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