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The Age of the EfendiyyaPassages to Modernity in National-Colonial Egypt$
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Lucie Ryzova

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199681778

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199681778.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Age of the Efendiyya

Lucie Ryzova

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter outlines the main themes of the book—local Egyptian middle-class modernity articulated by and embodied in the category of the efendi—and sets them within existing historiographical traditions. A “history from the middle” is proposed to fill the gap in histories written from the perspective of political elites or the subaltern. “Representation,” while often a crucial site of historical evidence, is cast aside in favour of working with concepts of social experience and social context. The book’s key themes and arguments are outlined through a thick reading of a key text of modern Egyptian literature, Yahiya Haqqi’s The Saint’s Lamp. Read contextually along countless non-canonical texts, the content of this novel encapsulates the social experience of becoming an efendi. Read as literary act, it represents a cultural practice (one of many) through which a rising efendi social formation made and expressed itself.

Keywords:   egyptian modernity, modern Egyptian men, efendi, efendiyya, middle strata, traditional-modern, patriarchy, colonialism, colonial modernity, social stratification, nationalism, authenticity

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