"A major reference source for any future research on al-Barudi, the roots of change in modern Arabic poetry, the socio-political role of the literary imagination in the modern Arab world, and the perennially charged and apropos subject of cultural encounter between the Western colonizer and its colonized Other."—Muhammad Siddiq, professor of Arabic and comparative literature, University of California, Berkeley
"Terri DeYoung invites us to enjoy the poetry of the neo-classical Egyptian poet, al-Barudi (1839-1904), as a herald of modern Arab sensibility, and to appreciate his societal reforms as the first independent prime minister of Egypt. Later, as an exile in Ceylon where the British consigned him for seventeen years, his poetry is shown at its best by her well-documented book and its uniquely informed vision, which will be valued for many years to come."—Issa J. Boullata, professor emeritus of Arabic literature, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University
"Offers an exploration of the story of al-Barudi, his poetry, and his evolution as a constitutionalist and a nobel rebel, leading to his ultimate evolution into a major actor on the political stage."—Al Jadid
"A major reference source for many years to come. DeYoung is to be congratulated on giving
us a study that deserves a wide readership, not only among students of Arabic literature, but by all those interested in the emergence of modern Egypt during the second half of the nineteenth century."—Journal of Arabic Literature
To explore the life of Mahmud Sami al-Barudi is to gain a nuanced perspective on the many facets—the perils and promises—of change in the rapidly modernizing Egypt of the nineteenth century. Al-Barudi, sole scion of a Turko-Circassian elite family that clung precariously to a legacy of position and power, turned his military education into a government career that ended with his elevation to the office of prime minister. He served briefly before the British invasion in 1882 put an end to Egypt’s independence for seventy years. As prime minister, al-Barudi focused on drafting and passing into law Egypt’s first constitution, an achievement that was summarily swept aside by the British occupation. Similarly, the prime minister’s efforts to modernize and improve the educational system were systematically undermined by the policies of colonial rule in the 1880s and 1890s. Although his reforms ultimately failed, al-Barudi was recognized among his contemporaries as the most consistent supporter of liberalism and eventually democratic representation and constitutionalism. For his boldness, he paid a price. He was exiled by the British to Ceylon for seventeen years and returned to Egypt in 1901 as a blind, prematurely aged, and broken man. Even before he made an impact as a political leader, al-Barudi had made a name for himself as the most original and adventurous poet of his generation. DeYoung charts the development of al-Barudi’s poetry through his youth, his career in government, his philosophical and elegiac reflections while in exile, and his return to Egypt at the beginning of a new century. Connecting the themes found in his more influential poems—among the more than 400 lyrics he composed—to the turbulent events of his political life and to his equally fierce desire to innovate artistically throughout his literary career, DeYoung offers a vivid portrait of one of the most influential pioneers of Arabic poetry.
Terri DeYoung is associate professor of Arabic language at the University of Washington. She is the author of Placing the Poet: Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab and Postcolonial Iraq.
6 x 9, 432 pages