Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 318
Mahfouz's life has spanned much of the twentieth century, and his work has been greatly influenced by the social and political upheaval in Egypt. Research the history of Egypt in the twentieth century. How have these events influenced specific themes and concerns of Mahfouz's stories?
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Recurring themes in the stories of Mahfouz include death, time, God, and the human condition. These concerns were influenced in part by his religious upbringing in an Islamic family. What are the fundamental beliefs of the religion of Islam? Which countries in the world are predominantly Islamic? How has Mahfouz's Islamic upbringing impacted the central themes and concerns of his stories?
Westerners are generally familiar with the ancient history of Egypt. Yet what artistic and cultural styles are relevant to modern Egypt? Find out more about modern Egyptian art, music, or theater. What social and political factors have influenced modern artistic and cultural trends in Egypt?
Mahfouz has been criticized for the portrayal of women in his stories. Learn more about the status of women in modern Egypt. How has the role of women changed over the course of the twentieth century? How is the status of women in Egypt different from the status of women in the West?
Mahfouz's involvement in the film industry ranged from holding a bureaucratic position in the national film censorship office, writing screenplays based on the stories of other authors, and seeing his own stories made into films. Find out more about the Egyptian film industry and Mahfouz's involvement in it. In what ways has Mahfouz influenced the Egyptian film industry? Did his experience with film impact his writing style?
Receiving the Swedish Academy's Nobel Prize for literature in 1988 catapulted Mahfouz into the international limelight. Investigate the history of the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Prize. What is the criterion for determining the winners? When was the first prize awarded? What other writers have received Nobel Prizes?