Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recommended by Naguib Mahfouz Biographer


I am very pleased to recommend Mr. Ahmed Seddik of Ahmed Seddik Tours in his pursuit as an expert guide for ancient and medieval sites in Egypt.   Not only does he have an outstanding knowledge of Egyptology and ancient Egyptian monuments (including ongoing excavations), he is similarly conversant in Islamic history, as shown in several tours of Islamic Cairo that we have conducted together.  This is also clear in his very numerous, well-researched public lectures in Egypt on a wide range of topics within it--literary, historical and linguistic—many of which I have shared in personally.  (An Arabist, my 2008 doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, on fiction set in ancient Egypt by the late Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz, made broad, closely supervised use of Egyptological sources, and I have also extensively studied Islamic history, both at the University of Michigan and U-Penn.)  His considerable acumen and insight extend far beyond these fields to also embrace Arabic literature, science and mathematics too.  His masterful familiarity with the vast and intricate oeuvre of Ahmad Shawqi, “the Prince of Poets,” is a great achievement in itself, and could only have been attained with his extremely erudite knowledge of Arabic grammar, syntax and vocabulary.  Moreover, he is highly trained in English literature, grammar and lexicography, a most rare combination with such a background in Arabic, let alone Egyptology.  Indeed, Ahmed is a genuine polymath in the truest sense of the word, and has educated himself far beyond what his formal studies at the American University in Cairo have taught him.  As to his character, Ahmed--a natural showman, with a distinct (and very Egyptian) love of attention--is also extremely thoughtful and helpful to others.  Our experience together, in which we have shared in delivering lectures (mainly on Mahfouz)--and even co-produced and performed in short plays (e.g., on the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb)—has been an extremely rich and happy one.  I’m quite sure that yours, with this uniquely gifted human being, will be as well.

Raymond Stock, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies
Drew University