The writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (1917–1979) offer a refreshing reassessment of Arab-Jewish relations in the Middle East. A member of the bourgeois Jewish community in Cairo, Kahanoff grew up in a time of coexistence. She spent the years of World War II in New York City, where she launched her writing career with publications in prominent American journals. Kahanoff later settled in Israel, where she became a noted cultural and literary critic.
Mongrels or Marvels offers Kahanoff's most influential and engaging writings, selected from essays and works of fiction that anticipate contemporary concerns about cultural integration in immigrant societies. Confronted with the breakdown of cosmopolitan Egyptian society, and the stereotypes she encountered as a Jew from the Arab world, she developed a social model, Levantinism, that embraces the idea of a pluralist, multicultural society and counters the prevailing attitudes and identity politics in the Middle East with the possibility of mutual respect and acceptance.
About the author
Deborah A. Starr is Associate Professor of Modern Arabic and Hebrew Literature and Film in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University and the Director of Cornell's Program of Jewish Studies.
Sasson Somekh is Professor Emeritus of Arabic Literature at Tel Aviv University, where he was Halmos Chair of Arabic Literature.