Marilyn Booth, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 335 pages.
Marilyn Booth’s remarkable study blends literary criticism with historical research to better understand the construction of modern Egyptian womanhood. Booth analyzes hundreds of women’s biographies that were written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and published in the popular women’s press. She situates this activity within the context of Egypt’s nationalist struggle and burgeoning feminist movement at a time of foreign economic, military, and cultural domination. With the publication of biographies of women as diverse as the Prophet’s wives, Jeanne d’Arc, Hatshepsut, Jane Austin, and Safiyya Zaghlul, Booth uncovers the diversity of the Egyptian women’s press in its scope and vision of what Egypt should expect of its women.