Egypt has changed enormously in the last half century, and nowhere more so than in the villages of the Nile Valley. Electrification, radio, and television have brought the larger world into the houses. Government schools have increased educational horizons for the children. Opportunities to work in other areas of the Arab world have been extended to peasants as well as to young artisans from the towns. Urbanization has brought many families to live in the belts of substandard housing around the major cities. But the conservative and traditional world of unremitting labor that characterizes the lives of the Egyptian peasants, or fellaheen, also survives, and nowhere has it been better described than in this classic account by Father Henri Habib Ayrout, an Egyptian Jesuit sociologist who dedicated most of his life to creating a network of free schools for rural children at a time when there were very few. First published in French in 1938, the book went through several revisions by the author before being translated and published in English in 1963.
The often poetic yet factual and deeply empathetic description Father Ayrout left of fellah life is still reliable and still poignant; a measure by which the progress of the countryside must always be gauged.
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(205mm x 135mm x 14mm)
The American University in Cairo Press
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
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Author Biography - Henry Habib Ayrout
Fr. Henri Habib Ayrout, S.J. (1907-69) was a distinguished Egyptian Catholic educator and sociologist, from a Syrian family. In 1940, he established the Catholic Association for Schools of Egypt. In the 1960s, he was rector of the Jesuit College in Cairo. John Alden Williams is a former director of the American University in Cairo's Center for Arabic Studies, and retired in 2001 as a William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the Humanities at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. He is the author of a number of books on Islamic civilization.