PROGRAM: Winter Weekend

Presented by:
Maine Humanities Council
Local Partner: Colleges and Universities, Other Subject: Cross-Cultural Understanding, History, Varies Audience: All

Winter Weekend is a humanities seminar on a classic text and is supported by the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England and by individual donors throughout Maine. This year marks the 20th annual Winter Weekend.

In 2017, participants will explore Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz at Bowdoin College on March 10 & 11. The program begins with a Friday evening lecture and dinner (a gastronomic taste of the time and culture reflected in the chosen text) and reconvenes Saturday morning to spend the day with presentations by scholars on various aspects of the book, from cultural context, to critical analysis, to explorations of specific themes.

About the book:

Naguib Mahfouz gives Arab literature a Dickensian portrait of a patriarch: 45-year-old Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd Al-Jawad, father and husband, despot and lecher, a man who demands strict adherence to the tenets of Islam inside his home, though he is indiscreet and unfaithful to a great many of them outside. The story chronicles the awakening of his family – including his wife Amina, who, by her husband’s command, has not left the house in 25 years, even to visit the mosque down the street; and two of his sons, one a patriot and the other a scholar, both against his wishes – against the backdrop of Egypt’s awakening. It’s a story, too, of the shifting of society, religion, and roles in Egypt in the period leading up to the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. (pulled from the Maine Humanities Council’s website)