Aimée Israel-Pelletier examines the lives of Middle Eastern Jews living in Islamic societies in this political and cultural history of the Jews of Egypt. By looking at the work of five Egyptian Jewish writers, Israel-Pelletier confronts issues of identity, exile, language, immigration, Arab nationalism, European colonialism, and discourse on the Holocaust. She illustrates that the Jews of Egypt were a fluid community connected by deep roots to the Mediterranean and the Nile. They had an unshakable sense of being Egyptian until the country turned toward the Arab East. With Israel-Pelletier's deft handling, Jewish Egyptian writing offers an insider's view in the unique character of Egyptian Jewry and the Jewish presence across the Mediterranean region and North Africa.
1. Jacques Hassoun: Return to Egypt
2. Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff’s Egypt: A View from the Nile
3. Edmond Jabès: Egypt Recovered
4. Paula Jacques, Resistance and Transmission: Transplanting Egypt on the Soil of France
5. André Aciman and the Mediterranean: The Staging of Egypt as Elsewhere
With On the Mediterranean and the Nile, Israel-Pelletier has paid homage to a bygone--but never entirely forgotten--Egypt, and to at least two generations of writers, whose literary works on the one hand reveal a little-known side of the Egyptian past, and on the other help us understand the fascinating web of feelings and images that continues to bind together memory, nationhood, and Jewishness in and beyond the Mediterranean.