Reading
 

Egypt

Books are often available in public libraries, and are listed at amazon.com unless otherwise noted. Arabesque magazine is no longer in publication.

"Homage to a Belly-Dancer" by Edward Said, Arabesque May/June 1994. Said's eloquent description of an Egyptian dance performance by Tahia Carioca, witnessed by this distinguished professor of Middle Eastern history and author of "Orientalism" when he was a young man.

Letters from Egypt by Florence Nightingale. Letters from the 29-year-old author to her family and later published by her sister. It is was interesting for me compare the Egyptian way of life in 1849 to that in 1971, when I made my first journey into the Egyptian countryside, and to discover that many customs had changed very little.

The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians by Edward W. Lane. Written in Egypt between 1833 and 1835, it is an accurate description of Egyptian life at that time, and covers a broad range of subjects, including costume, music, dance, a description of zar rituals and a chapter on the Ghawazee.

"Meetings in the Middle East" A seven-part Arabesque series on the Ghawazee by Aisha Ali.
Aisha AliPart I (Beirut, Damascus, Sofia Helme), Vol. V, No. V, January–February, 1979.
Aisha AliPart II (The Reda Troupe, Nezla El Adel), Vol. V, No. VI, March–April 1980.
Aisha AliPart III (A Mulid, Urban Gypsies, Sahara City), Vol. VI, No. I, May–June, 1980.
Aisha AliPart IV (Souhair Zeki, Wedding in Nazlett Al Semaan), Vol VI No. III, September–October, 1980.
Aisha AliPart V (Celebration in a Tent, The Zar), Vol VI, No. VI, March-April 1981.
Aisha AliPart VI (Finding the Ghawazee, Khalil, Abu Kherage), Vol. VII, No. I, May–June, 1981.
Aisha AliPart VII (Nawar, The Benat Maazin), Vol. VII, No. III, September–October, 1981.

The Superstitions of the Egyptian Fellahin by Winnifred Blackman. A fascinating book written by an English lady doctor who lived in Egypt during the 1920s. The book compares the superstitions of rural Muslims, Jews and Christians, and how little they differed. I have not seen this book for 20 years, so my listing of the title may not be completely accurate (not on amazon; call the UCLA library).

A Thousand Miles Up the Nile by Amilia Ann Blanford Edwards. Written in 1877, this is another interesting report by an English woman, of her travels in Egypt, including descriptions of the dance performances she encountered.

A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt by Karin Nieuwkerk. The author visited Egypt and interviewed a variety of female entertainers to learn their account of why they are often viewed as disreputable and accorded little prestige in Egypt society when they play such an essential part of most happy occasions.

Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society by Lila Abu-Lughod. An intimate and informative view of the present day lives of the women of the Awlad Ali tribe who live in the western desert of Egypt bordering Libya. The author focuses on how the women express themselves through oral lyric poetry.