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Quotes of the day: Naguib Mahfouz

Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 7:15 PM EST
Dec 10 2014

Naguib Mahfouz (December 11, 1911 – August 30, 2006) was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Egyptian and foreign films. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.

At my age it is unseemly to be pessimistic.

Falseness in life is the secret that makes man's inner self a rare truth; it hides from him although it's obvious to all.

Freedom of expression must be considered sacred and thought can only be corrected by counter thought

God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.

Happy is he who can give himself up.

I believe society has a right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees.

If we reject science, we reject the common man.

Insults are the business of the court.

It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.

It's clearly more important to treat one's fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one's head to a prayer mat.

Madness is the acme of intelligence.

Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body.

The criminal is trying to solve his immediate problems.

The real malady is fear of life, not of death.

There are no heroes in most of my stories. I look at our society with a critical eye and find nothing extraordinary in the people I see.

Today's interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization.

We usually exchange bare civilities at breakfast and then settle back to loathe each other cordially in silence.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

You know what I'm afraid of? That God is sick of us.


(December 11 is also the birthday of Fiorello LaGuardia.)

Categories: Naguib Mahfouz, Quotes of the day


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