Cairo Modern: The Unstable City

Cairo Modern: The Unstable City

We take a look at a new book about the architecture of twentieth century Cairo, and discuss the...

Listen to the episode

About the episode

We take a look at a new book about the architecture of twentieth century Cairo, and discuss the Egyptian capital’s past, present and future, and the way writers have shaped our view of it.  

Show Notes:

Mohamed Elshahed’s architectural survey Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide is newly released from AUC Press, with a foreward by Mercedes Volait. 

Elshahed’s longtime blog, Cairobserver, is a must-read for anyone interested in the built world.

 Another recent book that maps Cairo is Humphrey Davies and Lesley Lababidi’s A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo; N.A. Mansour recently wrote about both A Field Guide and Cairo Since 1900 in “Two New Books Preserving Cairo’s Urban Landscape.”

 Tawfiq al-Hakim’s The Prison of Life: An Autobiographical Essay, in which he describes his father’s time as an amateur architect, was translated by Pierre Cachia. Other Egyptian literary works that feature architects include Reem Bassiouney’s novel Mortal Designs, translated by Melanie Magidow, and Naguib Mahfouz’s play The Legacy. 

Also discussed in this episode are Hamdi Abu Golayyel’s novels Thieves in retirement (trans. Marilyn Booth) and A Dog With No Tale (trans. Robin Moger).

Other episodes of this podcast

The Shape of Cairo
Season
1

We take a look at a new book about the architecture of twentieth century Cairo, and discuss the Egyptian capital’s...

A Woman Shaped by Fear
Season
1

We talk about the Syrian writer Dima Wannous’ haunting novel The Frightened Ones, translated by Elisabeth Jacquette…

Cold Trail
Season
1

In 1993, the Egyptian poet and writer Iman Mersal picked up an unknown novel by a forgotten writer from the...