Interpreting the Self Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition

ISBN-10: 0520226674
ISBN-13: 9780520226678
Edition: 2001
List price: $34.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Autobiography is a literary genre which Western scholarship has ascribed mostly to Europe and the West. Countering this assessment and presenting many little-known texts, this comprehensive work demonstrates the existence of a flourishing tradition  More...

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Book details

List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 6/18/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 348
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

Autobiography is a literary genre which Western scholarship has ascribed mostly to Europe and the West. Countering this assessment and presenting many little-known texts, this comprehensive work demonstrates the existence of a flourishing tradition in Arabic autobiography.Interpreting the Selfdiscusses nearly one hundred Arabic autobiographical texts and presents thirteen selections in translation. The authors of these autobiographies represent an astonishing variety of geographical areas, occupations, and religious affiliations. This pioneering study explores the origins, historical development, and distinctive characteristics of autobiography in the Arabic tradition, drawing from texts written between the ninth and nineteenth centuries c.e. This volume consists of two parts: a general study rethinking the place of autobiography in the Arabic tradition, and the translated texts. Part one demonstrates that there are far more Arabic autobiographical texts than previously recognized by modern scholars and shows that these texts represent an established and--especially in the Middle Ages--well-known category of literary production. The thirteen translated texts in part two are drawn from the full one-thousand-year period covered by this survey and represent a variety of styles. Each text is preceded by a brief introduction guiding the reader to specific features in the text and providing general background information about the author. The volume also contains an annotated bibliography of 130 premodern Arabic autobiographical texts. In addition to presenting much little-known material, this volume revisits current understandings of autobiographical writing and helps create an important cross-cultural comparative framework for studying the genre.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
A Thousand Years of Arabic Autobiography
The Fallacy of Western Origins
Western Reception of Arabic Autobiography
Redefining the Issues
The Origins of Arabic Autobiography
Biographical Traditions: Early Prototypes
Biographical Writing: Literary Genres
Sira (Exemplary Life Story)
Tabaqat (Biographical Dictionaries)
Tarjama (Biographical Notice)
Autobiographical Subgenres
Other Influences
Toward a History of Arabic Autobiography
Historical Clusters
Authorial Motivations
Autobiographical Anxieties
Arabic Autobiography and the Literary Portrayal of the Self
Essentializing the Self: Private Life and Personality in the Memoirs of Ibn Buluggin
Historicizing the Self: Deciphering the Autobiography of Ibn Hajar
Reading for Stylistic Convention in the Autobiography of al-Suyuti
Dreams, Visions, and Unseen Voices
Poetry: An Alternative Discourse
Translations
Hunayn ibn Ishaq (d. 873 or 877)
Al-Tirmidhi (d. between 905 and 910)
Al-Mu'ayyad al-Shirazi (d. 1077)
'Imad al-Din al-Katib al-Isfahani (d. 1201)
'Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (d. 1231)
Ibn al-'Adim (d. 1262)
Abu Shama (d. 1268)
Al-Simnani (d. 1336)
'Abd Allah al-Turjuman [Fray Anselmo Turmeda] (d. 1432?)
Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 1505)
Al-'Aydarus (d. 1628)
Yusuf al-Bahrani (d. 1772)
'Ali Mubarak (d. 1893)
Conclusion
Personality and Self
Literary Conventions
The Status of Arabic Autobiographies as Texts
Into the Twentieth Century
Annotated Guide to Arabic Autobiographical Writings
Glossary
References
List of Contributors
Index

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