Dar al-Ma’arif

Dar al-Maarif Area: Downtown
Address: 27 Abd al-Khalek Tharwat St. (map)
Click here for info on other Dar al-Ma’arif branches (in Arabic)
Telephone*: 2393 6123
Website: www.dar-elmarf.com
(website works sporadically)
Facebook page: دار المعارف (publisher)
مكتبة دار المعارف ثروت Dar Al Marref Bookstore (bookstore)
Bookstore Hours: 8:00-9:00pm daily
Founder: Naguib Mitri & Shafiq Mitri
Established: 1890
Background:

Dar Al-Ma'arif

Dar al-Ma’arif branch at the corner of Abd al-Khalek Tharwat and Sherif St. in downtown Cairo.

 

Dar al-Ma‘arif is one of the oldest publishing houses in the Arab world and plays an important role in making readily available new editions of classic works of Arabic literature, scholarship, and translations at affordable prices. Given that most bookstores generally do not carry editions published more than ten years ago (once a book sells out, it often disappears from the market completely unless a new edition is printed), Dar al-Ma‘arif’s role in re-publishing classic works of literature and scholarship is especially important because it keeps this literature alive and available for readers. The house was founded originally as a printing press in 1890 by Lebanese scholar and writer Naguib Mitri and his brother Shafiq. Shortly thereafter the brothers expanded their operations to include publishing, in the process making Dar al-Ma‘arif one of the first private publishing houses in Egypt. The house remained private until 1961 when, in the midst of a larger push by the Egyptian government under Nasser to purchase and control independent publishing houses, Dar al-Ma‘arif became one of the government’s most important publishing houses, a status it retains today. While the house has undergone numerous changes and developments over its more than 120 years of existence, one of the most important came in 1976 with the establishment of the weekly political and social magazine, October. Today the larger umbrella organization, of the same name, prides itself on being morally grounded in its efforts to spread knowledge not just in Egypt, but throughout the Middle East.

What you’ll find here:

Dar al-Ma‘arif publishes books on a wide variety of topics, including religion, language, anthropology, science, literature, and children’s publications. This last category comprises a sizable portion of their publications, with 40 different series, each with approximately 65 titles, and numerous publications for students. While many of the books this house produces today are not literary, this house remains an important player in literary publication both because it publishes classic literature and works of literary criticism at affordable prices (though sometimes the quality of the book itself suffers), and because if has offered esteemed literary series. These series have been around for more than 50 years, though they have dwindled in popularity and cutting-edge presence in recent years, and include:

  1. Arab Repertoire (Dhakha‘ir al-‘arab) – classical Arabic literature
  2. Library of Literary Studies (Maktabat al-dirasat al-adabiya) – literary criticism, language, linguistics, etc.
  3. Read (Aqra’) – monthly publication that includes commentary and reviews from literary critics and important contemporary Arab thinkers (more than 750 issues to date)

To find Dar al-Ma‘arif’s books, visit one of their 26 locations located throughout Egypt. Their books are also located at most government-run houses and bookstores, including the General Egyptian Book Organization branches. A popular branch with a good selection is located on Sherif St., catty-corner to GEBO’s bookstore at ‘Abd al-Khalik Tharwat Street. Their website has recently undergone an upgrade and contains pretty up-to-date information about all of their publications and products, as well as a shopping cart and way to purchase texts via the web using MasterCard, Visa, or PayPal.

 

Last updated: May 2015

صفحة دار المعارف بالعربية

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