The Impact of the Egyptian and Lebanese Silk and Cotton Industries on the Rise of the Arabic Novel, 1870-1914 byElizabeth Holt

When I arrived in Cairo as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow of the American Research Center in Egypt, the city was preparing for the first anniversary of a then still-ongoing revolution. Located just off Tahrir Square, ARCE hosted inspired lectures with fellows studying both the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of Egypt as well as the most recent revolution, offering real-time historical contextualization and theorization of the events unfolding around us.  My own research as an NEH fellow focused on the early history of the Arabic novel and the cotton industry. I spent my days in the reading rooms of Dar al-Hilal and the AUC library, or in the stalls of Ezbekiyya and the Cairo Book Fair, reading dusty journals of the Nahdah, and found in them another revolution: the industrialization of the Arabic novel.  A decade later, my research at ARCE through NEH continues to inform my work in the Arabic literature classroom as it does my scholarship.