Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


R. Shareah Taleghani

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


alsharqawi, prison literature, Arabic literature, Egyptian cinema


During the beginning of the twentieth century, works of literature began to center the Egyptian fallah- or peasant- as a political subject, as well as the most authentic representation of national identity. Prior to that, the fallah was negatively depicted, constantly portrayed in a derogatory manner. Al-Ard, a 1954 novel by Egyptian author ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi has been described by many literary critics as a nationalist social realist novel that centers the fallah as a political agent. In the 1970s, al-Ard was adapted into a film by Youssef Chahine, an internationally acclaimed Egyptian film director whose works have addressed a wide range of issues in Egypt. This thesis will read the text as: (1) a form of prison literature by al-Sharqawi that critiques the feudalism in the 1930s and 1940s, mass imprisonment of political dissidents in the 1930s and alludes to the possibilities of further repression in the 1950s; and (2) that Chahine’s adaptation of the novel portrays different themes to depict the social-political changes in post-1967 Egypt.

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