The Construct of Egypt's National-Self in James Sanua's Early Satire & Caricature
Eliane Ursula Ettmüller
Studien zum Modernen Orient 22
Klaus Schwarz Verlag
1. Edition (2012)
Paperback, numerous Illustr., 328 pages
Yaʿqub Sannuʿ / James Sanua (1839–1912) was a pioneer in theater, satirical journalism and caricature. With the aim to foster nationalism in Egypt in the last third of the 19th century, he experimented with various literary genres. Deprived by the Khedive Ismaʿil of his career as a playwright, he started a satirical newspaper called »Abu Nazzara Zarqa« (the man with the blue glasses) in 1878 which was forbidden after its 15th issue and its editor forced into exile.
Based in Paris, Sanua continued to publish his magazine which was – according to his personal accounts – smuggled massively under adventurous circumstances into his home country where on 9 September 1881 Ahmad ʿUrabi and his fellow officers ʿAbd al-ʿAl Hilmi and ʿAli Fahmi made their march of protest to the ʿAbidin palace. This popularly supported revolt was later recognized as the starting point of the first Egyptian nationalist revolution.
This volume aims to disentangle the dichotomous construct which Sanua used in his satirical texts for the imagining of anEgyptian national identity. Until 9 September 1881 Sanua had published eight newspaper series and a total of 87 issues. His language and call for union, for resistance against oppression and for the fight against foreign invasion became increasingly more violent and religiously tinted. At the same time, his genres slowly transformed from his originally dramatic style proper for a playwright into a special kind of journalistic way of expression suitable for satirical magazines.