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Whirls of Faith and Fancy

House Symbolism and Sufism in Elif Shafak’s The Flea Palace

Verena Laschinger

Abstract

Elif Shafak’s The Flea Palace (2004) exposes secularized Istanbul as a grotesque world. By establishing the apartment building as a synecdoche for the city and negotiating the characters’ trajectories within the historical context of modernizing Istanbul, the novel presents their alienation as the sine qua non of the modern individual which is best confronted playfully or rather in the Sufi way. The argument is supported by the novel’s complex employment of circles and lines as thematic and formal patterns which refer to Islamic ritual practice of the Mevlevi Sufis in numerous ways.

The Literary World of the North African Taghrība

Novelization, Locatedness and World Literature

Karima Laachir

Abstract

The novels by North African novelists Waciny Laredj, Majid Toubia and Abdelrahim Lahbibi that refashioned the traditional Arabic genre of the taghrība inspired by the medieval epic of Taghrība of Banū Hilāl, still a living oral tradition in the region, offer an interesting case study of location in world literature. They circulate both within national (Algerian, Egyptian and Moroccan) literary systems and the pan-Arab literary field while maintaining a distinct aesthetic and political locality. In these novels, the literary life of the North African taghrība takes forms and meanings that are geographically and historically located, and that are shaped by the positionality of the authors. This paper intervenes in the discussion on location in world literature from the perspective of Arabic novelistic traditions by showing that the pan-Arabic literary field itself is far from homogenous but is marked by a diversity of narrative styles and techniques that can be both local/localised and transregional at the same time. Therefore, we need to shift our understanding of world literature beyond macro-models of “world-system” that assume a universally-shared set of literary values and tastes.

Locating the World in Metaphysical Poetry

The Bardification of Hafiz

Fatima Burney

Abstract

Discussions on world literature often imagine literary presence, movement, and exchange in terms of location and prioritize those literary traditions that can be easily mapped. In many regards, classical ghazal poetry resists such interpretation. Nonetheless, a number of nineteenth-century writers working in Urdu and English reframed classical ghazal poetry according to notions of locale that were particularly underpinned by ideas of natural essence, or genius. This article puts two such receptions of the classical ghazal in conversation with one another: the naičral shāʿirī (natural poetry) movement in North India, and the portrayal of classical Persian poet Hafiz as a figure of national genius in the scholarship of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both these examples highlight the role that discourses of nature and natural expression played in nineteenth-century literary criticism, particularly with regard to conceptions of national culture. They also demonstrate how Persianate literary material that had long circulated in cosmopolitan ways could be vernacularized by rereading conventionalized tropes of mystical longing in terms of more worldly belonging.

Introduction

Defining the Ultraminor

Bergur Rønne Moberg and David Damrosch

Preface

What is World Literature—of Arabic?

May Hawas and Theo D’haen

The Journal of World Literature (JWL) aspires to bring together scholars interested in developing the concept of World Literature, and to provide the most suitable environment for contributions from all the world’s literary traditions. It creates a forum for re-visiting global literary heritages, discovering valuable works that have been undeservedly ignored, and introducing aspects of the transnational global dissemination of literature, with translation as a focus. The journal welcomes submissions that can concurrently imagine any literary tradition, in any language, moving beyond national frames to simultaneously discuss and develop the cosmopolitan threads of a variety of literary traditions. It also welcomes contributions from scholars of different research backgrounds working collaboratively as well as from group research projects interested in showcasing their findings, in order to meet the challenge of a wider and deeper discussion of literature’s networks.

The editorial board of the JWL has begun accepting submissions for open-call issues.

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The introductions of the issues of the first two years are available Open Access to familiarize yourself with JWL and its applied scope.

Editor-in-Chief Muhsin J. al-Musawi

The Journal of Arabic Literature (JAL) is the leading journal specializing in the study of Arabic literature, ranging from the pre-Islamic period to the present. Founded in 1970, JAL seeks critically and theoretically engaged work at the forefront of the field, written for a global audience comprised of the specialist, the comparatist, and the student alike. JAL publishes literary, critical and historical studies as well as book reviews on Arabic literature broadly understood– classical and modern, written and oral, poetry and prose, literary and colloquial, as well as work situated in comparative and interdisciplinary studies.

NOW AVAILABLE - Online submission: Articles for publication in the Journal of Arabic Literature can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.

Need support prior to submitting your manuscript? Make the process of preparing and submitting a manuscript easier with Brill's suite of author services, an online platform that connects academics seeking support for their work with specialized experts who can help.