Mohammed bin Rashid Library, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, has organised The “Taha Hussein Days”, to celebrate the legendary writer’s birthday and great legacy. The event has attracted a large audience and great engagement.
Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei, Board Member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, expressed his delight at hosting the “Taha Hussein Days” event, stressing the influence of the Dean of Arabic literature and his prominent role in the modern Arabic cultural and literary movement through his literary contributions to the Arabic language that reflects his deep revolutionary thought.
Al Mazrouei highlighted that "the event comes in line with the strategy of the Mohammed bin Rashid Library and its social role in preserving and promoting Arabic literature, culture and heritage, and introducing new generations to the history and thought of these creators, in light of a unique vision that supports the sustainability of the cultural heritage, its documentation and transmission, generation after generation."
The event featured lectures and discussion panels that shed light on Hussein’s thought and creative and literary criticism such as a discussion panel of his book “Al-Ayyam” (The Days) and a mini-exhibition in the reception hall that featured a collection of his books.
In the first discussion panel with Dr. Omar Abdel Aziz, moderated by Dr. Maryam Al-Hashemi, about the life of Taha Hussein, Dr. Abdel Aziz stressed that the most important thing that Taha Hussein did was to make critics and writers in the Arab World pay attention to new literary genres other than poetry. Hussein was influenced by the different literary genres that he was introduced to in France, especially the novel, and he wrote influential works to promote these new literary genres such as the novel and theater, where he is considered the first to translate classical Greek works that influenced all Western literary production into Arabic. Hussein also dabbled with biography writing and other marginalized literary genres.
Commenting on Hussein’s accurate description of the things around him despite his blindness, Dr. Abdel Aziz said: “his wife, Susan, was the eyes with which he saw. Nevertheless, Taha Hussein had also a different type of eye, an eye that could see into the heart and soul and transcend physical perception.
The “Taha Hussein Days” event featured a cinematic screening of Hussein’s masterpiece "Doaa Al-Karawan" (The Nightingale's Prayer), a discussion panel, and a performance of the soundtrack of the movie “The Days”. The event also shed light on women in the life and literature of Taha Hussein, where Dr. Laila Al-Obaidly, Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Sharjah, interviewed the Bahraini writer, Dr. Parween Habib, on her new book “I Saw With Her Eyes.”
Dr. Parween Habib started by addressing the relationship of the Dean of Arabic Literature with his wife, Susan, saying, "This small woman was strong in character and sometimes authoritarian, according to the testimony of those who knew her or worked with her, but she was also a woman in love who tried to monopolize the one she loved, and she fought fiercely for that."
“Portraying Al-Akkad or Tawfiq Al-Hakim as misogynistic has always sparked my curiosity. On the other hand, we do not find similar attitudes by Taha Hussein, but when I read ”A Different Woman”, a book about Doria Shafiq’s life, I was shocked by Taha Hussein’s regressive attitude, unfortunately, so I tried to understand the context behind that. These two reasons were what made me research this topic and I felt that there was a bulk of material that would make a good book that would serve as an introduction to women in his life and how they were portrayed in his writings,” she added.
Dr. Parween concluded that the dean of Arabic literature portrayed oriental women in his books as they were, so that they might see the truth and revolt, and even gave a them defiant model, such as Amna, in "Doaa Al-Karawan" (The Nightingale's Prayer), who changed her name to Souad to adjust to her new personality.
For further information and details about MBRL’s upcoming events please visit: mbrl.ae
Taha Hussein Days event is part of the MBRL’s year-round unique programme of entertaining and educational events, lectures, and workshops, in line with its mission and strategy to raise scientific and cultural awareness among all members of society.
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