Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad

‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad, also known as Abbas Mahmoud el-Akkad (June 28, 1889- March 12, 1964), was an Egyptian litterateur, journalist, educator, polemicist and critic. He was born in Aswan, a city in upper Egypt. He wrote more than 100 books about philosophy, religions, greats of humanity, and poetry. He founded a poetry school (a salon) with Ibrahim al-Mazny and 'Abd al-Rahman Shokry. Near the end of his life, critics hailed him as a "human encyclopedia" of modern Arab culture. He died on March 12, 1964 in Cairo. His most famous works were The Ingenuity of Christ, The Ingenuity of Abraham, The Ingenuity of Mohamed, The Arab Impact on European Civilization, Sarah, and Allah or God.

Al-'Aqqad received little formal education, completing only his elementary education. Unlike his schoolmates, he spent all his weekly allowance on books. He read about religion, geography, history and many other subjects. He was known for his excellent English and French.

Al-'Aqqad wrote more than 100 books about philosophy, religion, and poetry. He founded a poetry school with Ibrahim al-Mazny and Abdel Rahman Shokry called Al-Diwan.  He died in 1964 in Cairo. His most famous works were al-'AbkariatAllah, and Sarah. Some of his books were translated into English. Al-Aqqad was known for his use of flowery and complicated prose.

Al-'Aqqad experienced two major romantic relationships in his life. The first was with a Christian Lebanese lady, whom he called "Sarah" in his novel of the same name. The second was with the famous Egyptian actress Madiha Yousri. This relationship was ended by al-'Aqqad himself, because of Yousri's career as an actress. Al-'Aqqad wrote a poetry work about this relationship called Cyclones of a Sunset (A-Asiru Maghrib in Arabic).

It was reported by prolific Egyptian author Anis Mansour and various other attendees of Al-Aqqad's famous 'lounge' that he kept a painting in his bedroom that displayed a beautiful cake with cockroaches crawling over it. Supposedly, Al-Aqqad kept this in his room as 'the first thing he looked at in the morning and the last thing he saw in the evening'. It symbolized beauty and purity (the cake) that is wasted to the glamor of spotlights (the cockroaches) as was the case (as he perceived) with actress Madiha Yousri.

Al-'Aqqad died in the early morning of March 13, 1964. His body was transported by train to his hometown Aswan in southern Upper Egypt, where it was buried the same day.

In the early 1980s, an Egyptian television series was produced about the life of al-Aqqad, which was titled The Giant (Al Imlaq in Arabic). It starred the late Egyptian actor Mahmud Mursi.

Alternative names include:

Abbas Mahmoud el-Akkad
'Abbas Mahmud al-'Aqqad
Akkad, Abbas Mahmoud el-
Al-'Aqqad, 'Abbas Mahmud
'Aqqad, 'Abbas Mahmud al-
El-Akkad, Abbas Mahmoud

No comments:

Post a Comment