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This book, originally published in 1988, traces the development of Arabic drama from its beginnings in Lebanon in the mid-nineteenth century to its maturity reached in Egypt in the second and third decades of the twentieth. A brief discussion of the indigenous dramatic tradition is followed by an examination of the way in which modern drama was imported and adapted from the West independently by Marun Naqqash in Beirut and Ya'qub Sannu' in Cairo, both of whom were inspired by Italian opera and influenced by French comedy. The subsequent search for Egyptian identity is examined through the work of these writers in whose hands Arabic drama attained its maturity, notably Ibrahim Ramzi, Muhammad Taymur and Antun Yazbak. The book is written in a manner accessible to the non-Arabist as no knowledge of Arabic is presupposed.
Cambridge University Press
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