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Narrativität im Kitāb al-Faraǧ ba'da š-šidda des Abū 'Alī al-Muḥassin at-Tanūḫī


Date of creation
  • 2008   Gregorian
Preferred title

Narrativität im Kitāb al-Faraǧ ba'da š-šidda des Abū 'Alī al-Muḥassin at-Tanūḫī   German  IDEO-IFAO transliteration scheme

Work type Single work
Non-literary work Historical work
Work manifested Monograph
Work genre Textual work

Adult, serious


Literary perspec­tives are essen­tial to a full under­stan­ding of Clas­sical Arabic prose. This study takes a deci­dedly inter­di­s­ci­p­li­nary approach by brid­ging the fields of pre-10th century Arab history, lite­ra­ture, modern narra­tive theory, reli­gion, philo­sophy and culture applying them to a late-abbasid work, Tanukhi’s al-Faraj ba’d ash-shidda.
The first chapter analyses the author’s biography brin­ging to the fore new aspects of his perso­na­lity. I present Tanukhi’s account of the hardships that led him to write al-Faraj and relate these to the extre­mely shaky political situa­tion in the region, his philo­so­phic back­ground and the reli­gious move­ments at that time. By studying indi­ca­tions by Tanukhi in the prefaces to his works, I iden­tify his target reader groups. The second chapter tackles the ques­tions: “What is narra­tive in akhbar lite­ra­ture?” and “What does the term akhbar (and its synonyms) mean to abbasid litte?rateurs?”, “How do isnads affect the actual content of the narra­tive?”. Apart from this, I iden­tify the general struc­tural features of adab works and iden­tify the shared struc­tural charac­te­ristics of narra­tives found within al-Faraj. Compa­ring written sources with al-Faraj, I estab­lish methods for deter­mi­ning how Tanukhi adapted the narra­tives of other adab-writers and the extent to which oral trans­mis­sion allowed Tanukhi greater freedom in this adapta­tion.
Further­more, I propose a method for distin­gu­is­hing between oral and written trans­mis­sion modes in al-Faraj. Next, I evaluate the narra­tive func­tions of verses of the Quran, poetry, prayers of supp­li­ca­tion, hadith and dialogue. I argue that these elements are often crucial to the plot and the inner frame­work of Faraj-stories. Aside from their narra­tive func­tion certain Quran verses struc­ture the text in its enti­rety and provide guiding prin­ci­ples.
Through a deep semantic analysis of poetry contained in Faraj ba’d al-Shidda-narra­tives, I reveal 17 distinct ways in which they func­tion. The exami­na­tion of narra­tive tech­nique and modal features in chapter three is based on struc­tu­ra­list and post-struc­tu­ra­list narra­to­lo­gical approa­ches laid out by Genette, Bal, Stern­berg, and Uspensky, among others. I describe the complex temporal construc­tion of short Faraj-narra­tives. Taking into cons­i­de­ra­tion distinc­tive features of adab-lite­ra­ture, I explore such narra­to­logy funda­men­tals as voice, distance and foca­li­sa­tion. It is of parti­cular inte­rest to notice the high rate of changes in narra­tive voice (trans­vo­ca­li­sa­tion) instead of alter­na­ting foca­li­sa­tion (trans­fo­ca­li­sa­tion). This chapter concludes with an in-depth analysis of foca­li­sa­tion types – it is remar­kable that zero-foca­li­sa­tion in homo­die­getic voice is the stan­dard narra­tive mode that effec­ti­vely governs the other two types: external and internal foca­li­sa­tion.

Diamond   W 224724

Created at 16-04-2018 by Dalal Adib (IDEO)

Updated at 17-09-2018 by Dalal Adib (IDEO)

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