The novels of Naguib Mahfouz by the most famous painters |  Gulf newspaper

The novels of Naguib Mahfouz by the most famous painters | Gulf newspaper

Cairo: «The Gulf»

The “Diwan” library, which has the right to publish Naguib Mahfouz’s work on paper, has put forward a set of new covers, but the controversy over them has not ceased until that moment, and most opinions express their shock at the shape of the covers, which does not match Mahfouz’s aesthetic value, and sharper opinions were launched regarding These covers, when many knew that the designer had finished them after reading Mahfouz in English, that is, he did not read Mahfouz in its Arabic version.

This debate, which coincides with the celebration of the anniversary of Mahfouz’s departure, at the end of this month, opens the door to find out the relationship of the owner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature with plastic art, and the relationship of the drawings that were completed for the covers of his books. » On the Egyptian General Book Organization, emphasizing the exceptional role played by the great novelist Naguib Mahfouz, a role that transcended the boundaries of the art of literary narration into the art spaces that touched with him.

In this book, Abu al-Yazid works on formation, and the talk is not limited to formation within the limits of classical photography, but rather refers to other arts associated with it, such as engraving, drawing, caricature, comic strips and sculpture, up to the manufacture of books, designing their covers, posters of artworks and cultural events, and even drawings. mural;


Mahfouz’s relationship with plastic art was the subject of constant questions, which was revealed by the critic and artist Mahmoud Bakshish, who indicated – in a radio interview – to Mahfouz’s tendency to anthropomorphic architectural composition, not only in the shapes of houses, cafes and alleys, but in the shapes of people, and their relations with the places where they live. In it, for him, the place does not play the role of a stage; That is, he is not satisfied with hosting a team that presents a temporary celebration, but on the contrary, the place has occupied the space of a hero of the drama.

Abu al-Yazid says that talking about art in the works of Naguib Mahfouz can extend, so that it has a beginning and no end, starting with the project of the great artist Hussein Fawzi in the New Message magazine in 1954 to paint the novel “Between the Two Palaces” and then his most famous project in Al-Ahram newspaper, to publish drawings of a novel “The Children of Our Neighborhood” daily.

The artist Hussein Fawzi was inspired by Naguib Mahfouz’s text, and lived it, through a personal and artistic experience, to present us with these paintings, which added new dimensions to receiving the writer’s literature to a wider audience, and there was a hidden dialogue between these visual texts and the texts of the artist Jamal Qutb, whose paintings embodied on the covers Within the text of the novels, no one mentions Naguib Mahfouz’s novels without mentioning the most famous painter for their covers, the artist Gamal Qutb.

The artist Gamal Qutb did not like the title “Painter Mahfouz,” despite the fact that Naguib is his first and favorite writer: “But I refuse to describe it like this, and I think that it is contrary to reality, and it is not possible to like such expressions Najib himself, our relationship was Only practical and professional, and I painted for the great writers in the Arab world, and I had a close relationship with some of them, such as: Youssef Idris and Tharwat Abaza.

Qutb translated Mahfouz’s novel works into pictures for covers and interior drawings of Mahfouz’s fictional characters. Egyptian women, and women have a role that cannot be underestimated, especially in those places, and it does not deny that he had taken into consideration when he started planning the drawings of Mahfouz novels that the book also has a commercial character.


The artist Seif Wanly was one of the artists best able to depict Mahfouz’s writings. He completed drawings accompanying Naguib Mahfouz’s mirrors, published in 1971 in the “Radio and Television” magazine. Mahfouz admitted to translator Roger Allen that he was working with his friend, the Alexandrian artist; Seif Wanly, on a group of short narratives about the Egyptians, these pieces of literature, with Seif Wanly’s illustrations, could not be printed in the usual places in which Mahfouz was published, because of the need to publish them in color, therefore, they appeared in an unfamiliar place, which is the Radio and Television Magazine.

It was not surprising that “Dar Al-Shorouk” chose the artist Helmy Al-Tuni to redraw the covers of Naguib Mahfouz’s works, after obtaining the rights to publish his works, and here began a new journey to embrace literature and art, to meet the writer and artist. It is issued, as the largest icon of the composition, here the name becomes a goal for itself, the floors differ, the icons vary, the colors change, and the name remains proud of its strong font.

How many times has Mahfouz reconstructed his narration, to find that he revolted against the formulas he had forgotten and familiarized with, presenting a self-revolution, rising in a new literary form, as he did in two important works: “Echoes of the Autobiography, and Dreams of the Convalescence Period.”

The artist, Mohamed Hajji, was in charge of making drawings accompanying Naguib Mahfouz’s “Dreams”, which was published in one of the famous women’s magazines at the time.

He completed (135) drawings, which were published over a period of four years.


The writer and storyteller Muhammad al-Makhzanji believes that when the artist Muhammad Hajji presented accompanying illustrations to Naguib Mahfouz’s texts “Dreams of the Convalescence Period,” he was not presenting a figurative translation of these dreams. And what they are, they are precisely artistic dreams, like all good literary texts, but rather all kinds of arts whose essence can be summed up in the fact that they are colors of dream that combine awareness and subconsciousness together to achieve them.

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