Edward Said once called Denys Johnson-Davies “the leading Arabic-English translator of our times.”

In a recent interview at the AUC Legacy Gallery, Johnson-Davies brushed off this praise. He said that for many years he was, after all, the only Arabic-English translator.

When Johnson-Davies arrived in Egypt in 1945, he said he found here a literature that “nobody [in the Anglophone world] knew about.” This was what attracted him.

“I was a sort of dictator of the field, which I enjoyed, actually.”

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