Egyptian critic and thinker Salah Fadl | encyclopedia

Egyptian critic and thinker Salah Fadl |  encyclopedia

Egyptian critic and thinker Salah Fadl | encyclopedia

Salah Fadl is an Egyptian thinker, noted critic, author and translator, headed the Academy of Arabic Language in Cairo and contributed to the revival of Ibn Rushd’s philosophical legacy and the transfer of Arabic literature to Spanish and Mexican universities.

birth and upbringing

Muhammad Salah al-Din Abd al-Sami’ Fadl was born on Sunday March 13, 1938 in the village of Shabas al-Shuhada in Kafr al-Sheikh Governorate in northern Egypt.

Fadl grew up in a scientific and literary environment and a simple country life, his father was a poet and Sharia scholar, his grandfather was a member of the Al-Azhar Scholars Association.

When Fadl was four his father died and he left him a written will to establish a long-term reputation for independence from his family.

Critic Muhammad Salah al-Din Fadl (communication sites)

study and training

Fadl saw the light of knowledge and its beginnings in the hands of his grandfather and then joined Al-Azhar Institutes where he completed his elementary and secondary education. He completed his education at Dar Al-Ulum in Cairo University and did graduated from there with a BA (Bachelor) in 1962.

In 1965 Fadl was sent to Spain for postgraduate studies and in 1972 he received a doctorate in literature from the Central University of Madrid.

During his studies in Madrid, Fadl was able to master the Spanish language and expand his knowledge of criticism, comparative literature and their arts.

Intellectual and literary experience

Fadl began his career in literature by writing poetry while he was a graduate student, and by the time he joined the faculty of Dar Al Uloom, he was living the struggle between the ancient and the modern, the avant-garde and the traditional, and he developed a love of criticism and rewriting.

He began his practice of criticism with the collection of poetry left by his father, so he worked to produce and print it, but after critical study he realized that in his opinion it was unfit for publication and unworthy of distribution as poetry, is the first flame of literary talent and should be an expression of human conscience.

While in Spain, Fadl worked with the Supreme Council for Scientific Research to help revitalize and disseminate Ibn Rushd’s philosophical legacy.

In 1975, Fadl established a department of Arabic at the Autonomous University of Mexico, where he was a visiting professor.

Egyptian critic and thinker Salah Fadl |  encyclopedia
Salah Fadl was influenced by Western approaches to literary criticism (Al-Jazeera)

The critical method

Fadl was influenced by Western approaches to literary criticism that have a large philosophical dimension, so he played the chord of realism with German and French roots.

He did not colorize the realist approach in Arabic literature, but instead adopted the findings and conclusions of Western critics, as his critical project is inspired by all approaches and is based on the movement of literary genres and the connections of multiple cultures.

Through Fadl’s critical career, The Theory of Constructivism in Literary Criticism, it is clear that he worked to build bridges between the latest productions in the West and Arabic culture.

The traits of his approach and critical stance become clearer in his classification of “text codes”, in which he adopts a new method of critical analysis, avoiding stopping at theoretical formations and stumbling over names and terms.

This style and approach became more evident in Fadl’s two studies “Introduction to Contemporary Poetic Styles and Narrative Styles in the Arabic Novel”.

jobs and responsibilities

  • He began his professional career at the Dar Al Uloom Faculty of Cairo University, where he worked as a lecturer and professor in 1962.
  • In 1968 he was elected teacher of Arabic literature and translation at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
  • After returning from a study trip to Spain in 1972, he worked as a professor of criticism and literature in the Arabic language and girls’ faculty of Al-Azhar University.
  • In 1979 he moved to the Faculty of Philosophy at Ain Shams University and worked as a professor of comparative literature.
  • Between 1980 and 1985 he was assigned as cultural adviser to Egypt in Spain and director of the Islamic Institute there.
  • After completing his work in Spain, in 1985 he was appointed Director of the Higher Institute of Art Criticism at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he remained until 1988.
  • He has worked as a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Sana’a, Bahrain and Mexico and has also been appointed Honorary Professor of Postgraduate Studies at the Independent University of Madrid.
  • Between 2002 and 2003 he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian General Organization for National Books and Documents House.
  • In November 2020, he was appointed head of the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo by ministerial decision.
  • He participated in the Prince of Poets program as a critic as he was a member of the jury for the award.


Fadl has written many books revolving around literary criticism, styles of poetry and Arabic novel-writing, he has also translated much Spanish literature into Arabic, and some of the most important books he has published include:

  • Approach to Realism in Literary Creativity 1978.
  • The constructivist theory in literary criticism 1978.
  • The Influence of Islamic Culture in Dante’s Divine Comedy 1980.
  • Stylistics: its principles and procedures, 1984.
  • Literary meaning production 1987.
  • The Moorish Epic of Maghazi, 1988
  • Text Codes Semiological Research 1989.
  • Phenomena of Spanish Theater 1992.
  • Narrative Methods in the Arabic Novel, 1993
  • rhetoric of discourse. Text Studies 1993.
  • Contemporary Poetic Styles 1995.
  • Forms of imagination from the crumbs of life and literature 1995
  • Methods of contemporary criticism 1996.
  • Reading photo and reading photo 1996.
  • The Eye of Criticism 1997
  • Tones of poetic discourse 1998
  • Genesis Critical vs Author 2000
  • Arabic Poetic Transformations 2002
  • Creativity is a Civilized Partnership 2003
  • Dialogues in literary thinking 2004
  • Aesthetics of Freedom in Poetry 2005
  • The joy of literary experiment 2005

He also translated plays from Spanish literature, including:

  • Life is a Dream, by Calderon de la Barca, 1978.
  • The Star of Seville, by Lope de Vega, 1979.
  • The double story of Dr. Palmy, by Buero Vallejo 1974.
  • The Dream of Reason and Don Quixote, by Buero Vallejo 1975.
  • Arrival of the Gods, by Buero Vallejo 1977.

Awards and Honors

In recognition of his outstanding role in the literary and critical study and service of the Dhad language, he has received many awards including:

  • Al Babtain Prize for Poetry Criticism 1996.
  • State recognition prize for literature in 2000.
  • Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Culture Prize for Literature and Criticism for 2015.
  • Nile Prize for Literature 2018.


Fadl died in Cairo on December 10, 2022 and was buried in Katameya Cemetery at the age of 84.

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