Critisism & Literature Studies

Painting by : Gamal Kotb – Egypt

  • Born in Al Mahalla Al Kubra, Egypt, on March 25, 1944.
  • In June 1965, he obtained his BA with merit from the Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Arts- Cairo University.
  • In 1969, he obtained an MA with merit from the Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Arts- Cairo University.
  • In 1973, he obtained his PhD with merit from the Department of Arabic Language, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University
  • Started teaching at university in 1966.
  • Visiting assistant lecturer in Arabic Literature at Wisconsin Madison University (1977-1978).
  • Visiting lecturer in Arabic Criticism at Stockholm University, Sweden (1981-1982).
  • Professor and Assistant Dean at Kuwait University (1983-1988).
  • Professor of Literary Criticism at the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University (1988).
  • General Secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture (from January 24, 1993 to March 2007).
  • Visiting lecturer in Arabic Criticism at Harvard University (1995).
  • Minister of Culture, January 31, 2011.
  • Resigned from his post as Minister of Culture on February 9, 2011 due to health reasons.
  • Served as Minister of Culture for the second time (from June 2014 to the end of February 2015).

Other Activities

Jury member for the following awards: Egypt’s State Encouragement Award, The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Award (Kuwait), the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Award (UAE).

  • Fusule magazine’s Editor-in-Chief 1990
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Qadhaya and Shahadat magazine (1990-1992).
  • Editorial Consultant for the following publications: the Jordanian Al Mahd, AUC’s Alef, Kuwaiti Ministry of Information’s Alam Al Fikr as well as for the magazines of the Colleges of Art and Letters at the following universities: Sana’a University, Yarmouk University, Kuwait University, Baghdad University, Al Riyadh University and UAE University.
  • Participated in numerous conferences and specialized symposiums in the Arab world and beyond.

Decision of the General Secretariat : 

Dr. Asfour’s works of criticism display great variety and creativity in terms of studying traditional Arab criticism and following up on the novelties of contemporary criticism. His keenness on mastering the tools of both classical and modern critical theories has enriched Arab criticism through several significant additions, especially in the domain of criticizing criticism.

Awards : 

  • Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s Best Work of Criticism Award
  • The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Award for Best Book in the Humanities.
  • Cairo International Book Fair’s Award for Best Book in the Humanities.
  • Tunisian Cultural Medal awarded by the Tunisian President.

Famous Works : 

  • Al Soura Al Fanniyya fi Al Turath Al Naqdi Wal Balaghi (Artistic Image in Critical and Rhetorical Heritage)
  • Mafhoom Al Sh’ir Wa Dirasat Al Turath Al Naqdi (The Concept of Poetry and the Study of Critical Heritage)
  • Al Maraya Al Mutajawira, Dirasa fee Naqd Taha Hussein (Adjacent Mirrors: A Study of  Taha Hussein’s Criticism)
  • Al Ihya’iyya wal Ihya’iyyun (Renewalism and Renewalists), Dar Al Thaqafa lil Ihya’ (Faculty of Arts, Cairo University).
  • Qira’at Al Turath Al Naqdi (Understanding Critical Heritage, Damascus,1991)
  • Al Tanweer Yuwajih Al Ithlam (Enlightenment Versus Obscuration, Cairo, 1992)
  • Mihnat Al Tanweer (The Plight of Enlightenment, Cairo, 1992)
  • Difa’an An Al Tanweer (In Defense of Enlightenment, Cairo, 1993)
  • Hawamesh Ala Dafatir Al Tanweer (Notes on the Books of Enlightenment, 1993)
  • Ida’at Al Hay’a Al Aama li Qusoor Al Thaqafa (Illuminations: The General Authority for Cultural Palaces, 1994)
  • Anwar Al Aql (Illuminations of the Mind, Egyptian General Book Authority, 1996)
  • Asr Al Bunyawiyya (Translation of The Age of Structuralism)
  • Al Marksiyya Wal Naqd Al Adabi  (Marxism and Literary Criticism)
  • Al Nathra Al Adabiyya Al Mu’asira  (The Contemporary Critical Approach)
  • Aafaq Al Asr (Horizons of the Era, 1997)
  • Zaman Al Riwaya (The Age of the Novel, 1999)
  • Awraq Thaqafiyya (Cultural Memoirs, 2003)
  • Al Naqd Al Adabi Wal Hawiyya Al Thaqafiyya (Literary Criticism and Cultural Identity, 2009)