This second installment revisits a piece I originally wrote in 2015 about narrative construction in Arabic chronicles from 15th- to 17th-century Damascus. It takes a micro-perspective to explore the construction of narratives focused on one series of events or ‘story’. As in the first instance, the PDF is attached at the end.Continue reading
Over the last three weeks or so, I was without a working a computer. And even now that a new one has arrived I am struggling to get into some sort of routine with backup passwords and other obstacles. That being said, my access to sources and literature is somewhat hampered at the moment. Therefore, I have revisited some of my own writings from the 2010’s. This post contains a summary as well as some notes on my book chapter “News and Rumor – local sources of knowledge about the world”. A PDF is attached at the end.Continue reading
In 2015, I attended the conference Domestic Devotions in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 at the University of Cambridge. The project was organized (very well, I would add,) by the ERC project Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Italian Renaissance Home. In early 2019, the resulting edited volume has been published in the Brill series Intersections.
Finally, Mamluk Studies 15: “Mamluk Historiography Revisited – Narratological Perspectives” is out. The edited volume brings together twelve articles on perspectives on specific works or larger clusters of works. My own contribution, “The Changing Legacy of a Sufi Shaykh: Narrative Constructions in Diaries, Chronicles, and Biographies (15th–17th Centuries)”, investigates the development of how knowledge on one specific person was shaped and adapted with growing temporal distance.
The person in question was introduced here in several posts during February 2018: Mubārak al-Qābūnī al-Ḥabashī. The article adds a more cohesive analytical framework to the sources presented on the blog before, and in in itself investigates the early formation of historical writing about his person. It presents and analyses four, mostly chronographical accounts on the same events and argues that each text does generate different meanings from these events.
The methodology is predominantly adapted from Gerard Genette and centers around the notion of “narrative time”, and its three emanations of temporal order, duration, and frequency. The article demonstrates how their application serves in the four accounts by Ibn Ṭawq, In al-Ḥimṣī, and—twice—Ibn Ṭūlūn to create quite divergent narratives out of the same events.
Finally, it complements the sources on Mubārak already presented here and adds accounts from three chronicles on the great clash between Mubārak and the local Mamluk emirs. Through different narrative treatment and contextualization, the retelling of the same event comes to represent divergent motivations of those texts.
Today brought an exciting find. Boris Liebrenz had recently told me he found a reader note by Aḥmad Ibn Ṭawq. That is already exciting when a person so elusive is concerned. But this is actually better, and I could/should have found this years ago. Yāsīn Muḥammad al-Sawwās’ (1987) catalogue of those manuscripts held in the Syrian National Library today but having once belonged to the holdings of the Abū ʿUmar or ʿUmariyya Madrasa in the suburb Ṣāliḥiyya is a wonderful catalogue, giving information about ownership notes or attendees records (samāʿāt). Continue reading