It has been maintained that no change is ever as abrupt as it seems to be and the change that occurred between 1952 and 1958 in the writing of Najīb Mahfūz is a case in point. If we start with the distinction, made by Raja’ al-Naqqash, between the two periods of Najīb Mahfūz's writings, 1 the large novel, Awldd havitrd, marks the first period's last phase and the beginning of the second period. In this novel, relating the history of a place, both place and history acquire symbolic value. The place is the neighborhood, that part of town which was the “physical environment” of no fewer than five novels and many short stories, and whose history is told in terms of the history of civilization.