From: Al Jazeera World

Literary Liaisons: Thinkers and Surrealists

We explore links between a famous Russian writer and an Egyptian scholar, and between French and Egyptian surrealists.

Correspondence between writers can sometimes reveal insights into their characters and ideas, beyond their published work.

In this film, two cross-cultural stories explore unusual connections through the exchange of letters.

The first is a little known link between the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy and the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Muhammad Abduh was the country’s spiritual leader and one of the most influential Muslim theologians of the early 20th century.

The second story is about the connection between the French surrealist writer André Breton and the Egyptian author, poet and critic Georges Henein. It is a tale of shared artistic vision across continents, but one which eventually led to a falling out between the two men.