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Also in the NYR of Books...



The day before yesterday, I quoted a review in the New York Review of Books, for June 4th. Today I will do likewise. Again with the caveat that I haven't read the book and likely never will.

The book in question this time is READING DARWIN IN ARABIC, 1860-1950 by Marwa Elshakry. What a marvelous title! so resonant (whether by intent or not) of READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN.

Anyway, the Ekshakry book is reviewed by Christopher de Bellaigue. He tells us, on Elshakry's authority,  that the Arabic term for Darwinism is "Darwiniya," and that in many quarters, especially in Egypt, it was a key part of modernizing/westernizing movements for decades. He ends his review this way:

"Darwiniya is not only a scientific system, but also a shorthand for intellectual curiosity and a progressive view of the human condition. The reverses it has suffered over the past few years are less bad than they look, not only because modern values are espoused by a great number of Mulsims, but because the West no longer provides unquestioning support for the region's dictators. The Middle East's short-term future looks bleak, but liberalism within an Islamic framework will survive."

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