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In: Philological Encounters
In: Philological Encounters
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In: Philological Encounters
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Abstract

This article on the place of the Qurʾān and Islamic theology in Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān constitutes a study in textual citation and excision articulated in two main parts. The first part of the article studies the interconnections between philosophy and theology in Ibn Ṭufayl’s (d. 581/1185) life and the references to the Qurʾān and to Islamic theology in his Risālat Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān. In the second part, I track the engagement with the Qurʾān and Islamic theology in the early-modern Latin and English variants of the tale. The article provides a detailed study of the Qurʾanic passages in translation, and reflects on practices of citation, excision and significant paratextual reorganisations. The article argues that the case is less one where the Qurʾān and Islamic theology are excised from the tale and vanish from view, than one where the tale is ‘de-Islamised’ so that it can serve intra-Christian and orientalist interests. The issue resides in making the Qurʾān and Islam epistemically dispensable and in disabling them as hermeneutic interlocutors to be reckoned with in a theological and philosophical debate.

In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

In this Philological Conversation, Dilip M. Menon dwells on the questions of how to think concepts and theorize from the Global South and on writing history beyond the Eurocentric, colonial, nationalist, and terrestrial. We discuss the political and epistemic implications and consequences of such urgent tasks. Dilip M. Menon speaks about his affinities with Edward Said, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Walter Benjamin, among others, and refects on the themes of coloniality of knowledge, postcoloniality, decoloniality, oceanic history, and the idea of paracoloniality. He links his earlier works to his recent decolonial intellectual projects and discusses his intellectual formation and his practice as a historian and social theorist. Put together via e-mail exchanges, this conversation is a culmination of several in-person conversations that took place in Beirut, Delhi and Berlin. One only hopes for many more to come.

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In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

There is not much by way of literary theory for kakawin—the classical literature of Java. This article proposes a semiotic model for the study of belletristic texts in Old Javanese: one that is based on the study of literary commonplaces that we have called kawi-samayas. Given the way the mental world of kakawin is deeply enmeshed with the external, natural world, we focus on the ecoliterary treatment of Kapat, the fourth month in the Javanese calendar. By studying the poetic elaboration of motifs related to Kapat in several kakawin texts, beginning with Monaguṇa’s Sumanasāntaka, we discuss the notions of poetic memory and literary tradition. The idea of poetic memory also helps in chalking out the active role of literary audiences in shaping the allusive and reflexive aesthetics of kakawin literature.

In: Philological Encounters
Author:

Abstract

Exploring the representation of space and belonging in Javanese literature, I will use Suparto Brata’s novel Donyane wong culika (The World of the Untrustworthy, 2004) as a case study. Firstly, I will focus on how literary, linguistic and epistemological features shape and give meaning to Javanese spatiality and on how the references to Javanese customs, literary and cultural traditions, and the Javanese mind in the twentieth century may address and evoke feelings of belonging. Secondly, as the novel features historical events as a kind of backdrop, I will pay attention to what Le Juez and Richardson (2019) call the perceptions of associated loci and on how these loci articulate individual and collective memories of the 1965–66 events, a traumatic period in postcolonial Indonesian history.

Open Access
In: Philological Encounters

Abstract

This article addresses how some influential Indian Muslim intellectuals conceptualized and imagined the Urdu language as the linguistic offspring and heir of the Persian language and Persianate textual cultures from the late nineteenth century through the early 1950s. As the symbolic and material value of Persian gradually declined in India, select Persianate idioms, genres, and histories were drafted for Urdu’s modernity. This article considers the significance of Persian as it was variously construed as either a burden or a model by Urdu scholars and as either a worthy or unworthy predecessor for Urdu from the 1890s to the 1950s. It traces the shifting textual processes by which three prominent Indian Muslim intellectuals constructed a parent-offspring relationship between Persian and Urdu in response to colonial education reforms, competing national projects, and pan-Islamic intellectual currents. In summary, this article excavates the many uses that Persian served as it was simultaneously erased from and encoded into Urdu’s anticipated futures.

In: Philological Encounters