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August 27, 1998

Nobel Laureate Najib Mahfuz is Subject of Forthcoming Lecture at Library of Congress

The Library of Congress will host a lecture about Najib Mahfuz, the Egyptian writer and Nobel Laureate, at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E. The lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.

The lecture will be delivered by Menahem Milson, Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Mr. Milson is the author of Najib Mahfuz: The Novelist-Philosopher of Cairo, which was recently published by St. Martin's Press of New York.

The first Arab ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, Najib Mahfuz was born in Cairo in 1911 and studied philosophy at Cairo University. From 1934 to 1971 he worked as a civil servant and served in various capacities at Cairo University, the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the Ghuri Library, the Ministry of National Guidance, the Film Support Organization and the Ministry of Culture.

Mr. Mahfuz is a prolific author whose own works have been translated into 24 languages. He is an avid reader of Western literature in English translation. In awarding Mr. Mahfuz the Nobel Prize for literature in 1988, the Swedish Academy of Letters stated that Mahfuz "has formed an Arabic narrative art that applies to all mankind."

Mr. Milson, who is fluent in Arabic, was the official interpreter assigned to the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during his historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977. Subsequently invited to Cairo by Mr. Sadat, Mr. Milson later became acquainted with Mr. Mahfuz.

Since March, Mr. Milson has been in residence at the Library of Congress, during a sabbatical from his university duties. His project is a lexicographic study of modern literary Arabic, which is associated with the production of an Arabic-Hebrew dictionary.

Mr. Milson began his teaching career after earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1963. From 1991 until 1997, he held the post of Hebrew University's Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. In addition to his work during the Sadat visit, Professor Milson has also served in various administrative capacities for the Israeli Government. Among his other scholarly works are Society and Political Structure in the Arab World (1973) and On the Other Shore: A Selection of Modern Egyptian Stories (1980).

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division and the Office of Scholarly Programs.

Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or Tactile) will be provided if requested five business days in advance of the event. Call (202) 707-6362 TTY and voice to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations, contact the Disability Employment office at (202) 707-9948 TTY and (202) 707-7544 voice.

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PR 98-130
ISSN 0731-3527

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