In it he mixed the story of love with the struggle with power.. Youssef Idris’ novel, which sparked controversy

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A novel in which its Egyptian writer mixed the love story with the struggle with power, and included a critique of the Egyptian leftist experience in the fifties. Although it topped the Arab novel after its publication in 1960, it sparked controversy.

The novel “The White” by Egyptian writer and novelist Youssef Idris was first published serially in 1960 in Al-Gomhoria newspaper, and was later considered one of his most important and controversial achievements. The novel deals with a love story between Doctor Yahya and the white Greek girl Sandy, and also includes a critique of the Egyptian leftist experience at that period.

For Professor of Modern Arabic Literature at Cairo University, Dr. Khairy Doma, “Al-Bayda” is more of a love novel than a novel of revolution.

While the Omani writer and storyteller Suleiman Al-Maamari considers the novel to be a love story with a political background, where the writer recounts his view of love and life, but with a simple background, and it is not intended to settle scores with the left, as Youssef Idris was later accused.

As for the Jordanian narrator and critic Hisham Gharaibeh, he says that the novel is not on the level of Youssef Idris’ glowing writings.

Youssef Idris was famous in Arab cultural circles as the most prominent writer of short stories, and while many of his supporters considered him a unique talent, his critics saw that there was another factor that supported the brightness of his star, which is his relationship with the authority of July 1952, and his transformation from a leftist anti-authority – and he was arrested at the beginning The fifties – to a writer who built his glory on its corridors, especially after it was noticed that he was close to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The late Egyptian critic Farouk Abdel Qader spoke about this relationship in his critical study on the novel “The White”.

In his reading of Youssef Idris’ novel, writer and literary critic Dr. Ahmed Karim Bilal says that the novel runs in two parallel lines. The first is the love story that arose between the communist doctor Yahya and the Greek girl, a story that caused him a lot of psychological aches and pains. The second line in the novel relates to his work in a communist cell that publishes a weekly magazine.

one sided love

Although the novel deals with a love story between the hero Yahya and the Greek girl, it included a scathing criticism of the Egyptian left in the fifties, and since its publication represented a point of clash with this left, as critics and intellectuals attacked the writer because of the timing of the novel’s release, especially since it was published by Al-Gomhoria newspaper, which was The newspaper is considered the authority of that period.

According to the professor of modern Arabic literature, Khairy Doma, the context of the novel was very confused, and the writer was attacking the left and pacifying the regime, and this is the same opinion of the Jordanian writer and critic Hisham Gharaibeh, who confirms that the Egyptian storyteller was favoring the existing regime in that period.

The novel also did not escape criticism at the level of the romantic line that it carried, as the symbolism of the hero’s relationship with the foreign girl was the focus of many decisions. The Great in the West and its attempt to reproduce it in the Arab Mashreq.

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