Theater and Radical Politics in Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria 1860–1914

ilham Khuri-Makdisi

in The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262010
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945463 | DOI:
Theater and Radical Politics in Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria 1860–1914

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Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria were conquered by a theatrical frenzy around the turn of the century. A plethora of performances were regularly framed, and people scrambled to squeeze into theaters or simply to congregate in front of a makeshift stage that often consisted simply of wooden planks. The moral dimension of the theater to which Tahtawi alluded in the 1830s would endure a dominant discourse throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Salim Naqqash's seminal essay was one of the earliest elaborations of the idea that the other theater constituted a vital tool for progress, civilization, and the making of a social body. It is not hard to grasp how reformist his conception of the theater was: it was essential in shaping a social body, without which civilization could not be attained. It allowed people in the audience to unite, transcend their divisions, and join forces for the sake of public interest.

Keywords: plethora; Tahtawi; Salim Naqqash; reformist; civilization

Chapter.  17065 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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