New in Paper . . .
A Child from the Village
Edited, Translated, and with an Introduction by John Calvert
and William Shepard
This tender memoir chronicles the early years of Sayyid Qutb, one of
Egypt’s most influential radical Islamist thinkers and a member of the Muslim
"The child’s eye, feelings, emotions, as well as the comments of
a grown-up writer present valuable information for students who
are interested in the modern history of Egypt as well as those who
are interested in the history of Egyptian culture. In addition, the
book provides scholars of Qutb’s ideology with the texture of life
that produced, and still produces, such an ideology, in which the
cry for social and political justice is mixed with a utopian adherence
to a divine law."—Nasr Abu-Zayd, author of Rethinking the Qur’an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics
Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and prominent Islamist revivalist figure whose career spanned the middle decades of this century.
John Calvert is professor of history at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the
author of numerous books, including Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism.
William Shepard was professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Canterbury
in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is the author of The Faith of a Modern Muslim Intellectual:
The Religious Aspects and Implications of the Writings of Ahmad Amin and Sayyid Qutb and
Islamic Activism: A Translation and Critical Analysis of "Social Justice in Islam."
Book Description »[Close »]
The book documents the era between 1912 and 1918—a decade of immensely important influence on the creation of modern Egypt. Written with much tenderness toward childhood memories, it has become a classic modern Arabic autobiography.
The book offers a clear picture of Egyptian village life in the early twentieth century, its customs and lore, educational system, religious festivals, relations with the central government, and the struggle to modernize and retain its identity. Translators John Calvert and William Shepard have captured the beauty and intensity of Qutb’s prose in their rendering of the work into English. Their masterly introduction situates the book in its cultural environment and Sayyid Qutb in his historical context.
Although Qutb (1906-1966) is not a household name in the United States, he is well known throughout the Islamic World as the foundational thinker for a significant portion of the contemporary Muslim intelligentsia, including such non-Arab countries as Pakistan and Malaysia. In 1965 he published his famous book, Mallem Fittareek (Milestones) after which he was accused of conspiring against the Egyptian president, Abdul Nassar and arrested. He was tried and sentenced to death.
A Child From the Village was written just prior to Qutb’s conversion to the Islamist cause and reflects his concerns for social justice that would eventually express itself in Islamic terms. There has been an increase in the general public’s interest in Qutb since 9/11: he has received attention in publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Guardian, to name a few.
View other series books on Middle East Literature in Translation.
6 x 9, 184 pages, glossary, notes, bibliography