Determinism and Gender in Galsworthy’s The Man of Property and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk A Naturalistic Approach

Abdulfattah Omar


This article is concerned with analysing the concepts of determinism and gender in John Galsworthy’s The Man of Property and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walk from a naturalistic point of view. Determinism is one of the important characteristics of literary naturalism developed by Emile Zola, an eminent French writer, in the second half of the nineteenth century. Analysis indicates that pessimistic determinism, a typical feature of literary naturalism, is represented in the two texts along with other naturalistic features such as conflict, frankness about sexual problems, and objectivity. Analysis also shows that both John Galsworthy and Naguib Mahfouz gave much space in the two novels for women and their problems. Both adopted a naturalist deterministic view of the concept of gender. They used naturalist settings and practices as vehicles for symbolic meanings to convey thematic significance. The notions of determinism and free will as well as the related concepts of fate and nature are central questions in the two texts. The two authors also extend the notion of determinism to gender problems. In the two novels, we see that women are determined to suffer and submit to male dominance and tyranny. Although it is difficult to determine whether the two authors were progressive in adopting an explicit anti-patriarch stance, it can be claimed that Galsworthy and Mahfouz were concerned with introducing the social problems of the age including women problems in an objective way.



Determinism- gender- naturalism- Emile Zola- feminist naturalism

Full Text:



Accad, E. (1984). The Prostitute in Arab and North African Fiction. In P. Horn & M. Pringle (Ed.) The Image of the Prostitute in Modern Literature, (pp. 63-75). New York: Ungar.

Allegretto-Diiulio, P. (2007). Naguib Mahfouz: A Western and Eastern Cage of Female Entrapment. Youngstown, New York: Cambria Press.

Allen, R. (1995). The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction (2nd Ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Allen, R. (2006). Naguib Mahfouz: From Cairo to the World. Open Democracy 31 August 2006

Al-Saadawi, N. (1997). The Nawal Al-Saadawi Reader. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Al-Saadawi, N. (2013). Hans Ulrich Obrist in Conversation with Nawal Al-Sadawi. E-Flux Journal 42 (2): 1-11.

Ardis, A. (1990). New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Asfour, G. (1993). Naguib Mahfouz's Critics. In M. Beard & A. Haydar (Eds.) Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition, (pp. 144-171). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Baguley, D. (1990). Naturalist Fiction: The Entropic Vision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Banerjee, S. K. (2007). Feminism in Modern English Drama: 1892-1914. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.

Barakat, H. (1993). The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Beard, M. & Haydar, A. (1993). Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition (1st ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Becker, G. (1963). Documents of Modern Literary Realism. Princeton, New York: Princeton University Press.

Bell, M. (2012). The Cambridge companion to European novelists. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chase, R. (1980). The American Novel and its Tradition. (British edition). London: G. Bell & Sons.

Cooke, M. (1993). Men Constructed in the Mirror of Prostitution. In M. Beard & A. Haydar (Eds.) Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to Global Recognition, (pp. 106-125). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.

Drinkwater, J. (1923). The Outline of Literature. (Vol. 1). London: George Newnes.

Edwards, S. (2011). The Rise and Fall of the Forsytes from Neo-Victorian to Neo-Edwardian Marriage. In M-L Kohlke & C. Gutleben (Eds.) Neo-Victorian Families: Gender, Sexual and Cultural Politics, (pp. 197-220). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

El-Enany, R. (1993). Naguib Mahfouz: The Pursuit of Meaning. London, New York: Routledge.

El-Guindi, F. (2005). Gendered Resistance, Feminist Veiling, Islamic Feminism. The Ahfad Journal, 22 (1), 53-94.

El-Sadda, H. (2012). Gender, nation, and the Arabic novel: Egypt, 1892-2008. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: Syracuse University Press.

Fleissner, J. (2004). Women, Compulsion, Modernity: The Moment of American Naturalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Frechet, A. (1982). John Galsworthy: A Reassessment. London: Macmillan.

Galsworthy, J. (1906). The Man of Property. London: William Heinemann.

Galsworthy, J. (1922). The Forsyte Saga. London: Heinemann.

Grace, D. (2004). The Woman in the Muslim Mask: Veiling and Identity in Postcolonial Literature. London: Pluto Press.

Hafez, S. (2001). Introduction to the Cairo Trilogy. London: Everyman.

Hatif, H. & Asim, H. (2012). The Psychological and Moral Impact of Property in John Galsworthy's The Man of Property. College of Basic Education Journal, 80 (19), 839-847.

Howard, J. (1985). Form and History in American Literary Naturalism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Hubble, N. (2011). In the Twentieth Century, and the Heart of Civilisation: The London of the Forsytes. Literary London Journal: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, 9 (1)

Johnson, C. & Johnson, V. (2002). The Social Impact of the Novel: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn; London: Greenwood.

Joyce, S. (2014). Modernism and Naturalism in British and Irish Fiction: 1880-1930. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Keating, P. (1971). Working-Class Stories of the 1890s. New York: Barnes and Noble.

Keating, P. (1989). The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel, 1875–1914. London: Secker and Warburg.

Kohlke, M-L. & Gutleben, C. (2011). Neo-Victorian Families: Gender, Sexual and Cultural Politics. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Lehan, R. (2006). The European Background. In D. Pizer (Ed.). The Cambridge companion to American realism and naturalism, (pp. 47-74). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mahfouz, N. (2001). The Cairo Trilogy: Palace walk, Palace of desire, Sugar Street. London: Everyman.

Margraf, E. (2005). Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" as a Naturalistic Novel. American Literary Realism, 37 (2), 93-116.

Mernissi, F. (1987). Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Milson, M. (1998). Naguib Mahfouz: The Novelist-Philosopher of Cairo. New York: St Martin's Press.

Mondal, A. (2003). Nationalism and Post-Colonial Identity: Culture and Ideology in India and Egypt. London: Routledge Curzon.

Morrissey, J. (1990). A Review of the Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz. National Review, 26 (51).

Moosa, M. (1994). The Early Novels of Naguib Mahfouz: Images of Modern Egypt. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida.

Musawi, J. (2003). The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Nelson, B. (2012). Emile Zola (1840-1902): Naturalism. In M. Bell (Ed.). The Cambridge Companion to European Novelists, (pp. 294-309). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Newlin, K. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of American Literary Naturalism. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pizer, D. (1993). The Theory and Practice of American Literary Naturalism: Selected Essays and Reviews. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Pizer, D. (2006). The Cambridge Companion to American Realism and Naturalism: Howells to London. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schalit, L. (1929). John Galsworthy: A Survey. London: Heinemann.

Sicker, M. (2001). The Middle East in the Twentieth Century. Westport, Conn: Praeger.

Sollars, M. & Jennings, A. (2008). The Facts on File Companion to the World Novel: 1900 to the Present. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Strahan, L. (2008). Reading the Strange Silence: Irene’s Acquiescence in Galsworthy’s the Man of Property. University of California Riverside, 1, 6-13.

Walker, N. (1998). Feminist or Naturalist: The Social Context of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. In D. Keessey (Ed.). Contexts for Criticism. Mayfield Publishing Company.

Watson, E. (1973). The English and American Estimates of Galsworthy as a Novelist. PhD thesis. University of Arizona.

Woods, S. (1999). War of the Words: The Battle over the New Realism: Fairmont State College Occasional Papers, 11, 1-15.

Zola, E. (1964). The Experimental Novel and Other Essays. New York: Haskell House.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.