Naguib Mahfouz: A Biographical Webquest


I felt it too dull to present, or more so list, facts about Naguib Mahfouz, the author of Theif and The Dogs.  So, I created this webquest for my Student Guided Discussion so that instead of me talking at you the entire period, you guys can explore Mahfouz's biogrpahy in groups.  Not only that, once you thouroughly delve into who Naguib Mahfouz was and lived for, there are some clear and compelling connections (don't mind my alliteration) to discuss. Now...let's move into the task!


Your task rather simple:

1.) You and your group members (see below for list of groups and assingments) have been assigned a part of the book to connect to Mahfouz's Biography.

2.) To do this, you have to read through/skim and scan/review some of the passages I have written about Mahfouz and the links I have provided in the 'Evaluation' section. (you will have 20-25 minutes to investigate).  See the 'Conclusion' section for what you will "create" to share to the is basically a chart analyizing your topic in Mahfouz's Biography/History and drawing parrallels to the book.  OPEN THIS BEFORE YOU BEGIN INVESTIGATING...IT WILL LET YOU TAKE NOTES!!

3.) Dont worry though, I have also compiled some guiding questions fo you guys so that you can focus on the strongest connections to the book

4.) That being said, do a good job because we will share each groups findings

5.) On a side note, it is important to stress that while connections to the book are what we are primarily looking for, DIFFERENCES between Mahfouz's biography and the book can be significant too, so be on the look out!


1.) Ned, Andrew, Mason, Connor (Group 1)

2.) Austin, Zach, Parker, Chris (Group 2)

3.) Ryan, Harrison, Griffin, Morgan (Group 3)

4.) Brendan, Alex, Andy, Stratton (Group 4)


Group 1: Early Life and Academic Career

Group 2: 1919 Revolution

Group 3: Political Career/Affiliation

Group 4: Personal Life/Writing


Here is the layout on the following 'Evaluation' page:

1.) Early Life

2.) Academic Career

3.) 1919 Revolution

4.) 1952 Revolution

5.) Politcial Career/Affiliation

6.) Mahfouz's Other Works/Writing


Here are your guiding questions:

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:


1.) Early Life

Naguib Mahfouz was born on December 11, 1911 in Old Cairo, Egypt (See Below for information on Old Cairo).  He was the youngest of seven, and reffered to himself as a self-acclaimed "only child."  This was due to the fact that the next sibling in his household was ten years older; there was a large age difference between he and siblings.  Despite this, however, Mahfouz cherished his childhood, not only that, but religion played a major role in his childhood years.  Additionally, Mahfouz frequented secret hiding places in and around Old Cairo, and shared these stories with an overall stong relationship with his father.

Old Cairo:

Old Cairo is made up of the remnants of Egypt's previous captials.  In other words, Old Cairo is the "mix" of past captials of Egypt.  Consequently, an interesting dynamic is created in the city as the past (part Roman) is very different from the people inhabiting the city (Arabic, Islams, etc.)

Check out these resources for more on Naguib Mahfouz's Early Life:

1.) First couple Paragraphs on this link: Academic Career 

2.) True, this is Wikipedia, but the "Early Life" Section is worth exploring:

2.) Academic Career

Mahfouz began writing at a young age, although it is not what he studied at Cairo University.  Interestingly enough, Mahfouz majored in philosophy, and was greatly influenced by his philosophical teachers.  

3.) 1919 Revolution

4.) Politcial Career/Affiliation

5.) Personal Life/Writing



Here is what I was reffering to to help you organize your thoughts and connections (you can copy and paste this or make a the same table in word):

Notes Your Topic: Connections to the Novel: Quotes:

Now that you have filled this out, send one group participant to the board and write down some of favorite/best connections OR differences from Mahfouz's Biography and The Theif and the Dogs.