Abbas Mahmoud El-Aqqad is one of the giants of the 20th century and a renowned figure in the illumination of human thought. He lived for more than 80 years enriching cultural, social, and political life in Egypt.
He is taken as a unique encyclopedic figure a self-educated, he used to read in different fields of knowledge, and he wrote in various spheres, distinguishing himself as a writer, thinker, poet, historian and journalist.
El-Aqqad launched many contentions, political and cultural for the sake of national freedom and the upgrading of learning, knowledge and the freedom of thought, thus identifying his mental greatness with that of the issues and thoughts he propounded.
The Egyptian writer enriched the Arab Library with 102 books on different topics including history, philosophy, poetry, literature, political, geniuses, biographies and memoirs(autobiographies)-besides translated books from English language. That whole ensemble represent the largest and intellectual heritage in the history of modern Arabic literature, an innovating heritage on which scholars made some 30 to 50 master and doctorate degrees .
El-Aqqad was born on Friday , June 28 1889 to a father, an archivist, in the city of Aswan, Upper Egypt, the same year in which were born many other giants of human thought and notables .
In 1896, he started his first educational lessons in the kuttab(or the pre-elementary educational and which prevailed in Egypt and the orient late 19th and early 20th centuries, teaching children the Holy Quran and Arabic language. They are gradually disappearing leaving place for civil governmental and private schools not excluding -nevertheless religious teachings which occupy a prominent place therein)
By 1899 El-Aqqad joined the elementary school for 4 years, only to undertake a self-education- career, widely reading and exploring all sorts and branches of knowledge, realizing great accomplishments as a tactful interlocutor, a cogent and eloquent person to finally become an example and ideal for Arab intellectuals
In his early years, he assumed different governmental employments in different cities, but he used to frequent Cairo to cope with the literary and acquire modern books. In 1906, he ultimately settled in Cairo, resigning from his governmental posts, to devote himself to journalism and writing.
It was journalism which attracted Aqqad to the realm of writing when he joined the editing staff of "Al-Dostour" in 1907 and "Bayan" in 1911. He also wrote some chapters on criticism in "Okaz" magazine in 1912; he was also dedicated to some Arab biographies. In the domain of Press, Aqqad had a distinctively charismatic character desirous of influencing others to strive for the best. He was the first Egyptian journalist to skillfully introduce the press interview when he interviewed the national leader Saad Zaghloul in 1908.
In this domain, too, El-Aqqad launched many political contentions in defense of democracy in the wider sense of the word; so he frequently attacked Hitler in 1948, refuting the concepts of Nazism. He was imprisoned in 1940 for his defense, in the press, of democracy and parliamentary life, he was then member of The House of Representatives.
� 1998 -2000 Arab World Books