Theses Doctoral

The Levantine Maqāma Before the Nahḍa and Beyond the Novel

Shmookler, Max

This dissertation is a study of Arabic narrative forms and writing practices on the cusp of modernity. It is set in and around the Ottoman provinces of Mount Lebanon, and spans the period from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. Through the study of four maqāma collections composed between the 1770s and 1856, this project offers a microhistory of a literary form before and during its earliest encounter with the Nahḍa, or Arab renaissance in the mid-nineteenth century. These highly self-reflexive maqāma collections not only shed light on practices of textuality prior to the spread of print journals and the “new” reading public in the mid-nineteenth century, but also provide an empirical basis for furthering the critique of the centrality of the novel to the definition and periodization of Arabic literary modernity. In its broadest ambition, however, this project is a search for a new theoretical language to describe this maqāma corpus and, through it, key facets of the genre in the modern period.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Anidjar, Gil
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 24, 2020