chapter  1
Before, after and between the Revolutions
Desire and Death in the Egyptian Postcolony
ByLindsey Moore
Pages 50

This chapter discusses the Egyptian narrative fiction by Naguib Mahfouz, Latifa al-Zayyat, Miral al-Tahawy and Alaa al-Aswany–emphasizes the collective desire for emancipation as 'an irruptive, revolutionary force that pervades the social, by turns producing and altering the real', as captured most recently in the resounding slogan 'al-sha'b yurid isqat al-nizam'–the people want the downfall of the entire regime. The chapter provides historical depth to contemporary revolutionary imaginaries, objectives and processes, demonstrating ways in which Egyptian literature reflects and produces revolutionary desire that exceeds (post)colonial power/knowledge regimes. It tracks what fiction projects beyond sociopolitical reality, which pertains also to literature's critically historiographic tendencies. The chapter explores narrative endings and their remainders. The chapter emphasizes the national imaginary, or house of the nation, as the scene of the ultimately irrepressible desires of Egyptian people. Scenes of protest throughout The Open Door stress the will of the people rather than a 'great man' model of history.