Aarhus University Seal

Creating a Pioneer of the ‘Arab Revival’: Rabih Lutfi Gum’a and his father’s heritage

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

See relations at Aarhus University

Mattias Gori Olesen - Lecturer

This paper explores a modern Egyptian example of family memory-making, by
taking on the case of the intellectual writer Muhammad Lutfi Gum’a (1886-1953) and
his son Rabih Lutfi Gum’a’s (1928-2003) commemoration of the father. Though
research exists on the memory of childhood, family and the father in the Arab world
as expressed in modern autobiographies, memory-making through paratexts and
posthumous publishing activities, undertaken by a relative to the person in question,
appears to be uncharted territory in the Arabic context. This paper therefore
approaches Rabih Lutfi Gum’a’s publications and paratexts concerned with his
father’s less-known legacy, exploring how he remembers, identifies, promotes and
controls the Lutfi Gum’a family heritage. It is shown how Rabih Lutfi Gum’a
remembers and identifies his father by positioning him within the intellectual history
the so-called ‘Arab revival’ (nahda) of the late 19th and early 20th century, promoting
his father as a pioneer of the age and controlling his legacy through reader-guiding
paratexts and the posthumous publication (and editing) of his father’s memoirs and
letters. In doing this, the paper offers a preliminary view on how publication strategies
and paratexts work as memory-making tools as well as on how descendants of the
pioneers of the ‘Arab revival’ manage their family heirloom.
24 May 2018

Event (Conference)

TitleAIAS Symposium: Family, Memory and Identity
Degree of recognitionInternational event

ID: 127487946