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The Theocrat: A Modern Arabic Novel from Morocco

The Theocrat: A Modern Arabic Novel from Morocco (Paperback)

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Synopsis

"The Theocrat" takes as its subject one of Arab and Islamic history's most perplexing figures, al-Hakim bi-Amr Illah ('the ruler by order of God'), the Fatimid caliph who ruled Egypt during the tenth century and whose career was a direct reflection of both the tensions within the Islamic dominions as a whole and of the conflicts within his own mind. In this remarkable novel, Bensalem Himmich explores these tensions and conflicts and their disastrous consequences on an individual ruler and on his people. Himmich does not spare his readers the full horror and tragedy of al-Hakim's reign, but in employing a variety of textual styles-including quotations from some of the best-known medieval Arab historians; vivid historical narratives; a series of extraordinary decrees issued by the caliph; and, most remarkably, the inspirational utterances of al-Hakim during his ecstatic visions, recorded by his devotees and subsequently a basis for the foundation of the Druze community-he succeeds brilliantly in painting a portrait of a character whose sheer unpredictability throws into relief the qualities of those who find themselves forced to cajole, confront, or oppose him.

Fiction & PoetryHistorical FictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press Publication Date: 15/11/2009 ISBN-13: 9789774162510  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Bensalem Himmich has written a number of philosophical works as well as several novels and collections of poems. The Theocrat received the al-Naqid Award and was chosen by the Authors' Union in Egypt as one of the best novels of the twentieth century. His novel The Polymath received the Grand Atlas Award in Rabat and the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature in Cairo and was published by the AUC Press in 2004. Bensalem Himmich is the vice president of the Moroccan and Arab World Writers' Union. He was awarded the Sharjah Prize in 2003. Roger Allen is Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

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