Composing Egypt builds on scholarship published in the last three decades on nationalism, the press, education, gender, popular culture, and technology. While two or even three of these fields have intersected in previous studies, Hoda Yousef skillfully weaves all these threads together through the notion of gendered public literacies, broadening the definition of literacy to include all access to the written word. Yousef’s understanding of where and how Egyptians learned to read or consume literature secondhand begins, nevertheless, by critically examining the educational system. While earlier studies of education focused on institutions, more recent studies have focused on the role of the British occupation, class, and the gendered uses of power. Building on this foundation, Yousef mines the curriculum and press from the late nineteenth century through the interwar era to understand the power of a new writing...

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