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  • Author or Editor: Elisabetta Benigni x
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In: Adab and Modernity

Abstract

This article focuses on the image of the past in two translations produced in the contexts of the Arab Nahḍah and of the Italian Risorgimento. The first translation is the Italian rendering of ʿOmar ibn al-Fāriḍ’s mystical poems, published in 1872 by Pietro Valerga (1821-1903). The second is the Arabic translation of the Iliad, published in 1902 by Sulaymān al-Bustānī (1856-1925). Both translators refer to the past as a translation strategy: Pietro Valerga reads Ibn al-Fāriḍ through the verses of Petrarch and, in his work’s introduction, emphasizes the transmission of medieval Arab poetry to Italy; Sulaymān al-Bustānī reconstructs the world of the Iliad through Arabic poetic tradition and compares Greece to the ǧāhiliyyah (pre-Islamic age). The article sheds light on the potential of translation as a space of re-imagination of the past and invites us to read the works as two distinct, yet akin, attempts to express original interpretations of Italian and Arabic literary histories based on syncretism and cross-cultural translatability.

In: Oriente Moderno

Abstract

This article examines the possibility to draw a comparison between intellectual features of the Italian peninsula and of the Arab provinces of the Eastern Mediterranean during nineteenth century movements of “awakening” (Risorgimento and Nahḍah). By putting aside issues of national historiography, this study attempts to investigate the cultural debates in the area with a comparative approach and a focus on the concept of cultural transfer. It discusses in particular the widespread circulation of translations and the rise of debates about language, to underscore the need to interrogate the concept of modernity from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective.

In: Oriente Moderno
In: Oriente Moderno

This article examines the ideological implications of the literary debate about the Arab-Islamic influences on Dante’s Divina Commedia and the emergence of the idea of Mediterranean literature. It traces the question of “influences” back to 16th century Italy, casts the modern controversy about Dante and the Arabs in the broader context of borders, and questions the definition of European and Romance literatures in relation to Arabic literature. It then focuses on the 20th century debate about the Arabic roots of the Commedia in Italy, Spain and the Arab world in order to account for the reception and translation of the Commedia into Arabic.

In: Philological Encounters
In: Philological Encounters