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In the Shadow of World LiteratureSites of Reading in Colonial Egypt$
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Michael Allan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167824

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167824.001.0001

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Debating Darwin

(p.94) 5 Critique
In the Shadow of World Literature

Michael Allan

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores competing notions of critique as brought to light by discussions of Charles Darwin, focusing on a section of Naguib Mahfouz's novel, Qasr al-shawq (Palace of Desire), in which the youngest son, Kamal, publishes an article on Darwin in an Arabic-language journal. The chapter casts this fictionalized incident alongside the Lewis Affair, in which a professor at the Syrian Protestant College, Edwin Lewis, resigned over a scandal involving his evocation of Darwin during a commencement address. Where Edwin Lewis emerges as a martyr for academic freedom in the Arab world, Kamal negotiates his relationship to his family's response to his work differently. The chapter considers the presumptions at play in critical response and its connection to modern education.

Keywords:   critique, Charles Darwin, Naguib Mahfouz, Qasr al-shawq, Lewis Affair, Edwin Lewis, academic freedom, education, Syrian Protestant College

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