This chapter analyzes the work of Ali Salem (1936–2015) and Taha Husayn (1889–1973). Husayn, the doyen of modern Arabic literature, and Salem, a leading Arabic-language playwright, are considered two of the main avatars of Pharaonism; the former dominating the early decades of the twentieth century, the latter commanding influence in the early twenty-first. In The Future of Culture in Egypt (1938), Husayn made the case for an Egyptian Egypt and an Egyptian identity separate and distinct from the worlds of Islam and Arab nationalism. Salem's 2004 satire, The Odd Man and the Sea, presents a spacious notion of the Mediterranean as a sea of culture—fluid, inclusive, pantheist by its very nature, and of which Egypt is a vital current.
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