Chapter

Scattered Pearls and Mistresses of Seclusion: Zaynab Fawwāz, Arabic Biographical Writing, and a Canon of Female Visibility

Marilyn Booth

in May Her Likes Be Multiplied

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780520224193
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925212 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520224193.003.0001
Scattered Pearls and Mistresses of Seclusion: Zaynab Fawwāz, Arabic Biographical Writing, and a Canon of Female Visibility

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Labība Hāshim (c. 1880–1947) had published her monthly magazine Fatāt al-sharq (Young Woman of the East) just twice when, in December 1906, she announced a new department to publish items about women famed for their refinement and knowledge. Hashim's proclamation prefaced a three-page biography of the late Turco-Egyptian poet Aisha Taymār. Word for word, this biography had appeared twelve years earlier in Zaynab Fawwāz's Scattered Pearls on the Generations of the Mistresses of Seclusion. Hashim formed the parade of “Famous Women” who would march beneath the masthead of her long-running magazine. By 1910, at least four compendia of biographies of famous women had been written and/or published in Egypt. Fawwāz was the second Arab woman to write a biographical dictionary of women, after Maryam Nahhās (Nawfal) (1856–1888), another native of Lebanon and an almost exact contemporary of Maryam Makāriyūs. Fawwāz, Nahhās, and Hāshim were among the first generations of women to participate in an emerging discourse on gender's centrality in Egypt's struggle to wrest independence from colonial subjection.

Keywords: Zaynab Fawwāz; biographies; famous women; Labība Hāshim; Maryam Nahhās; Egypt; gender; Young Woman; Mistresses of Seclusion

Chapter.  14680 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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