Cover image for America in an Arab mirror : images of America in Arabic travel literature : an anthology, 1895-1995
America in an Arab mirror : images of America in Arabic travel literature : an anthology, 1895-1995
Abdel-Malek, Kamal.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xiii, 152 pages ; 22 cm
Added Author:
Format :


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E161.5 .A43 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This distinguished anthology presents for the first time in English travel essays by Arabic writers who have visited America in the second half of the century. The view of America which emerges from these accounts is at once fascinating and illuminating, but never monolithic. The writers hail from a variety of viewpoints, regions, and backgrounds, so their descriptions of America differently engage and revise Arab pre-conceptions of Americans and the West. The country figures as everything from the unchanging Other, the very antithesis of the Arab self, to the seductive female, to the Other who is both praiseworthy and reprehensible.

Author Notes

KAMAL ABDEL-MALEK Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta in Toronto, Canada.
MOUNA EL KAHLA currently teaches Arabic at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

"To see ourselves as others see us" can be a surprising, annoying, even humbling experience. The mutual insights and misapprehensions of Near Easterners and Europeans were gathered by veteran scholar Bernard Lewis in A Middle East Mosaic [BKL Ap 15 00]. Here, Abdel-Malek, an Arabic and Islamic studies professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, selects Arab travelers' descriptions of the U.S. (many first available here in English) over the last century. Abdel-Malek groups his selections around themes, including America as "the unchanged other," "the seductive female," "the dream and the reality," and "an example to emulate"; separate chapters are devoted to the observations of Arab women travelers, and to Arab writers' satirical commentary. In addition to a brief preface, the editor supplies headnotes that identify each author and place their comments in context. Work and play, ideas and practicalities are among the subjects addressed; one Egyptian-American businessman urges his readers to learn to dance before they immigrate to America! An instructive collection in a globalizing world. --Mary Carroll

Table of Contents

Mikhail Asad RustumSayyid QutbMahmud AwadAhmad MustafaYusuf IdrisMuhammad Hasan al-AlfiMahmud ImaraPhilip K. HittiAmir BoqtorMuhammad Labib al-BatanuniMahmud TaymurZaki KhalidZaki Najib MahmudShafiq JabriAdil HammudaYusuf al-HasanAhmad HaridiHisham SharabiJadhibiyya SidqiKarima KamalRadwa AshurLayla Abu ZaydHala SarhanMustafa AminMahmud al-SadaniAli SalemKamal Abdel-Malek
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Accounts of Arab Travelers to America According to Their Date of Publication (1895-1995)p. xi
I America in the Eyes of a Nineteenth-Century Arab
1. A Stranger in the West: The Trip of Mikhail Asad Rustum to America, 1885-1894 (1895)p. 3
II The Making of an Image: America as the Unchanged Other, America as the Seductive Female
2. "The America I Have Seen": In the Scale of Human Values (1951)p. 9
3. A Love Tour (1972)p. 29
4. An American Immigrant (1979)p. 31
5. New York 80 (1980?)p. 37
6. America: The Jeans and the Switchblade (1989)p. 43
7. America for Sale (1991)p. 45
III America: the Dream and the Reality, the American as an Example to Emulate
8. America in the Eyes of an Easterner, Or Eight Years in the United States (1924)p. 49
9. The World in America (1926)p. 55
10. The Trip to America (1930)p. 59
11. The Flying Sphinx [in America] (1946?)p. 61
12. America Under the Microscope (1954)p. 63
13. My Days in America (1955)p. 67
14. The Land of Magic (1962)p. 81
15. America: Paradise and Hellfire (1982)p. 87
16. The Washington Memoirs (1986)p. 91
17. America (Top Secret) (1987)p. 93
18. Embers and Ashes: Memoirs of an Arab Intellectual (1988)p. 97
IV America in the Eyes of Arab Women Travelers
19. America and I (1962?)p. 105
20. An Egyptian Girl in America (1983)p. 111
21. The Trip: The Days of an Egyptian Female Student in America (1987)p. 117
22. America's Other Face (1991)p. 121
23. America the Way It Is (1995)p. 123
V Satirical Views of America
24. Cheerful America of the Past: Journal of a Penniless Student in the United States (1989)p. 129
25. America, You Cheeky Devil (1990)p. 135
26. My Story with Eva [Ivana Trump] (1993)p. 143
27. "The Sabeel in America," (1999)p. 147
Indexp. 151