Egypt Awakening in the Early Twentieth Century: Mayy by Boutheina Khaldi (auth.)

By Boutheina Khaldi (auth.)

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127 Zaynab Faww¯az’s compendium and role in the press is central to any survey of women’s press, not only in terms of influence, but also in establishing the ground for individual projects like Hind Nawfal’s al-Fat¯ at (Young Woman) which included news, book reviews, poems, fashion articles, and, above all, biographies of famous women. ”129 The author praises de Sévigné’s cultural priorities: “Honorable [de Sévigné], virtuous, noble of morals, upright and respectable she lived, preferring scholarship and literature to amusement and enjoyment, and the company of scholars and litterateurs to that of any others .

133 The dictionary also includes famous salonnières like Madame de Sévigné. This inclusion is deliberate and done with the purpose of encouraging women to emulate the lives and careers of famous women. 135 It is true that the revolution gave women an increased opportunity to participate in political life, especially in demonstrations, but women were already involved in the public life prior to the revolution. ammad ‘Al¯ı the Great Philanthropic Association) (1909), established by Hadiyyah ‘Af¯ıf¯ı H¯anim Barak¯at (1898–1969), and La Société de la femme nouvelle (1919).

65 Ziy¯adah allots education a place in everyday life in a quotidian reading that subtly undermines hierarchical borders. Turned into a daily concern, it is released from the burden of the French encroachment. She argues: “It is rather a slow and steady movement that one cannot T h e A m b i va l e n t M o d e r n i t y P r o j e c t 25 notice until it becomes widespread and conspicuous. ”66 This argument for education as a cultural endeavor with a base in daily practice cannot be seen in isolation from the history of the French effort to invade the public sphere through cafés and clubs.

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