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Taha Hussein


Taha Hussein (also Taha Husayn and Taha Husain) was born in Izbet el Kilo, central Upper Egypt, in 1889. He went blind at the age of three, because of incorrect treatment. He studied religion and Arabic literature at El Azhar University but was opposed to its conservative viewpoint. He went to the newly opened secular Cairo University and was the second person to receive a Ph. D. there. He then went to the University of Montpellier in France, where he met Suzanne Bresseau, whom he married. They remained close all his life. He later went to the Sorbonne where he obtained a Ph. D. He returned to Cairo University, where he became a professor. He was also founding Rector of the University of Alexandria. He clashed with conservatives and also engaged in polemics over his use of modern critical methods. He was even tried for apostasy when he claimed that many pre-Islamic texts were forged by later Muslims. He was not convicted. In 1950 he became minister of education, a post he held for two years. He was a keen supporter of education for everyone. He was also an Egyptian nationalist, saying that Egypt was not an Arab country but should recover its pre-Islamic roots. He published numerous works of fiction, culture, history and magazine and newspaper articles. He died in 1973.

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Taha Hussein
Taha Hussein
Taha Hussein
Taha Hussein
Taha Hussein
Taha Husayn
A Blind Dean for Arabic Literature: The Legacy of Taha Hussein
The Sea of Knowledge (profile)


(Note: Only books in English translation)

1925 اديب (A Man of Letters) (novel)
1928 الايام (The Days; The Autobiography of Taha Hussein; also published separately as An Egyptian Childhood; The Stream of Days; A Passage to France) (autobiography)
1934 دعاء الكروان (The Call of the Curlew) (novel)
1938 مستقبل الثقافة في مصر (The Future of Culture in Egypt) (essay)
1943 احلام شهرزاد (The Dreams of Scheherazade) (novel)
1944 شجرة البؤس (The Tree of Misery) (novel)
1949 المعذبون في الارض (The Sufferers: Stories and Polemics)
1949 الوعد الحق (The Fulfilled Promise) (novel)