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Classes of Ladies of Cloistered SpacesWriting Feminist History through Biography in Fin-de-siecle Eypt$
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Marilyn Booth

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694860

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694860.001.0001

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Pearls Scattered: An Introduction

Pearls Scattered: An Introduction

(p.1) I Pearls Scattered: An Introduction
Classes of Ladies of Cloistered Spaces

Marilyn Booth

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces the book at the centre of this study, a mammoth biographical dictionary of 453 world women published in Arabic in Cairo 1893-6 at Egypt’s government printing press; and its author, Zaynab Fawwaz, an immigrant from southern Lebanon to Egypt who wrote on gender politics in the press and also wrote two novels, a play and some poetry. The chapter places this book in the context of scholarship on gender politics, feminism, nationalism and anti-colonialism, and early feminist discourse in the Arab region and especially Egypt. In that context, the fin-de-siècle interest in ancient history – Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Semitic – evident in Egypt’s and Arabic Ottoman publications, receives attention as it relates to Fawwaz’s outlook on women’s history.

Keywords:   Nationalism, Egypt, Feminism, Biography, Jabal ‘Amil, Women writers, Ancient history, Ptolemaic, Egyptology

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