Today is the 124th death anniversary of the great writer, novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and social reformer Tawfeek Al Hakeem.
Al Hakeem’s work has inspired generations of artists. The subtle genius of his social stories and drama has left an indelible mark on the Arab world.
Al Hakeem was not nominated for a global Prize in Literature for his seminal work Ahl al-Kahf (The People of the Cave, 1933) but did receive a nomination for Best Egypt’s Novelist throughout the 20th century from the Egyptian government for his unique and modern critical approach and contribution to the Egyptian literature sector.
Indeed, he reshaped Arab literature and Drama as well as Egyptian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 20th century.
The remarkable writer was born into an aristocratic family. After he finished his law studies at Cairo University, he went to the light capital Paris in 1927 to continue his legal studies, but instead, he devoted most of his time to the theatre.
On his return to Egypt four years later, he worked for the Ministry of Justice in a rural area and for the Ministry of Education in Cairo. However, in 1936 he stepped down to devote himself entirely to writing.
On his 124th birth anniversary, here are some quotes by the Bard of Egypt to remind you of the genius.
“There is always a state of anxiety, of searching and delving for style.”
“True artistic renewal does not mean being stripped of fetters. It means moving into new fetters.”
“When the artist … intends from the beginning to be obscure and take obscurity as his objective or goal for its own sake and wishes to astonish, shock, and seem mysterious, that is a swindle.”