Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

In addition to drama, Tawfiq al-Hakim was active in a number of genres. Among his novels, written rather early in his career, al-Qasr al-mashur (1936; the enchanted palace) is notable as a collaborative effort composed with the distinguished man of letters Taha Husayn. His most celebrated work of long fiction, Yawmiyat na՚ib fi al-aryaf (1937; Maze of Justice, 1947), draws on al-Hakim’s experience as a legal functionary and deftly combines social commentary with satire. Other novels are significant as indications of al-Hakim’s propensity to experiment with this form of fiction. At intervals during his career, al-Hakim wrote short stories, which are most readily accessible through the two-volume collection Qisas, published in 1949. He also published a number of essentially autobiographical works, of which Sijn al-ՙumr (1964; The Prison of Life, 1992) deserves particular mention; Zahrat al-ՙumr (1943; life in flower) is a compilation of letters, translated from the French, from al-Hakim’s correspondence with those he met during his student days in Paris. Reflections on drama, art, and life are presented in works of literary criticism such as Min al-burj al-ՙaji (1941; from the ivory tower) and Fann al-adab (1952; the art of literature), as well as other studies. For a number of years, beginning in 1943, al-Hakim wrote columns for the influential newspapers Akhbar al-yawm (news of the day) and al-Ahram (the pyramids) of Cairo. His collection of political essays, ՙAwdat al-waՙy (1974; The Return of Consciousness, 1985), and a companion volume of documents published the next year, aroused criticism in some circles and wonderment in others, for their unfavorable commentary on the government of Egypt under President Gamal Abdel Nasser.