Humoresque and satire in ʿAli Salem’s writing as a means for social and political criticism

Mira Tzoreff*, Naomi Avivi Weisblatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ʿAli Salem was an independent intellectual, unbound to the regime or political parties. He believed that the intellectual must also be independent from the public. It does not mean he must be detached from society or elevated above it, but that he must avoid flattering it. Over thirty years of literary activity, Salem published 27 plays and hundreds of humoresques and short stories, which were collected in 15 books. He also published opinion pieces in the Egyptian press and periodicals. Salem was an uncompromising social and political whip, who criticized Egypt’s society and regime in the context of a political culture that limits freedom of expression and impedes the expression of views that contradict those of the autocratic ruler. The Article will focus on the witty humor Salem used in both his satires and plays to sharply criticize the socio-political maladies from which Egyptian society suffers and at the same time it served as a means to introduce to Egyptians the problems of their society in a way that would make it easier for them to internalize them, shake them out of their apathy and urge them to act in order to improve their lives for the better.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-656
Number of pages17
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Ali Salem, humour
  • Egypt
  • humoresques
  • intellectuals
  • plays
  • political criticism
  • social criticism


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