Sociological study of Khan al-Khalili novel by Naguib Mahfouz

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University

2 PhD Student of Arabic Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University



Sociology of text is a branch of the social approach of literary criticism that occurred in the twentieth century. While relying on the literary text, the sociology of text seeks to fill the gaps that the audience encounter in the literary work and its relation to society, whether in the cultural, social, or political spheres. The new novel, especially the realistic one, illustrates and immortalizes the pains and crises that human beings suffer from and face over time. Khan al-Khalili is one of Najib Mahfouz's most famous realistic novels, depicting his life and social reality, as well as the cultural and political aspects of the Egyptian nation during the First and Second World Wars. Since this novel is valuable as a book full of historical and sociological information and helps the reader to get a general idea about those lived conditions, this paper aims at using a descriptive-analytical method and relying on the social nature of criticism and analysis to study its text. Reading narrative voices, an ideological discourse of the characters, and studying the obvious settings of the novel are important topics investigated in this article. One of the most important results is that the different voices and ideas in the novel are sometimes similar, sometimes contradictory, and sometimes reach that point of ambiguity which indicates the disorder and chaos in Egyptian society and social, cultural, and political systems. Moreover, the novel Khan al-Khalili did not take anything away from the social life of that period and it can be said: the aesthetics of this novel lies in the way of expressing problems, crises, and lived realities while preserving its literary aspects at the same time.