The aim of this paper is to analyse how the ghurba can take a literary shape in the Arabic novel and be related to a specific cultural space rather than a physical one. In order to attain this goal, the paper focuses on al-Bukāʾ ʿalā al-aṭlāl (Crying over the ruins, 1980), a novel by the Jordanian author Ghālib Halasā (1932-1989), in which the theme of exile is expressed through a number of issues recalling some crystallised features of modern and contemporary Arabic literature, such as the symbolic role of the mother, the village and the coffee. However, the novel also interestingly displays a deep attachment to some major topoi of the ancient Arabic literary heritage – i.e. the reference to jāhilī poetry contained in the title, the verses by Imrūʾ al-Qays (6th century AD) quoted in the opening, the quotation of the Kitāb al-aghānī, and others –, which contributes to build up a net of literary references, and to freshen them up by providing them with a new content. Given the historical circumstances in which Halasā happened to live, and his continuous displacement to various Arab capitals due to his political stances, it seems clear that building a new world of words upon the old ruins (al-aṭlāl, as quoted in the title of the novel) was not simply a literary matter, but the very core of a survival strategy to him and to an entire generation of Arab intellectuals. Through the analysis of some of the ways in which intertextual references are fashioned in al-Bukāʾ ʿalā al-aṭlāl, this paper attempts to highlight both the narrative function of intertextuality and the significance it gains with regards to the author, in relation to the vicissitudes experienced by him and many other coeval writers and intellectuals.

Building a Homeland on the Ruins of Literature: al-Bukā’ ʿala al-atlāl by Ġālib Halasā as a Case Study

fernanda fischione
2018

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse how the ghurba can take a literary shape in the Arabic novel and be related to a specific cultural space rather than a physical one. In order to attain this goal, the paper focuses on al-Bukāʾ ʿalā al-aṭlāl (Crying over the ruins, 1980), a novel by the Jordanian author Ghālib Halasā (1932-1989), in which the theme of exile is expressed through a number of issues recalling some crystallised features of modern and contemporary Arabic literature, such as the symbolic role of the mother, the village and the coffee. However, the novel also interestingly displays a deep attachment to some major topoi of the ancient Arabic literary heritage – i.e. the reference to jāhilī poetry contained in the title, the verses by Imrūʾ al-Qays (6th century AD) quoted in the opening, the quotation of the Kitāb al-aghānī, and others –, which contributes to build up a net of literary references, and to freshen them up by providing them with a new content. Given the historical circumstances in which Halasā happened to live, and his continuous displacement to various Arab capitals due to his political stances, it seems clear that building a new world of words upon the old ruins (al-aṭlāl, as quoted in the title of the novel) was not simply a literary matter, but the very core of a survival strategy to him and to an entire generation of Arab intellectuals. Through the analysis of some of the ways in which intertextual references are fashioned in al-Bukāʾ ʿalā al-aṭlāl, this paper attempts to highlight both the narrative function of intertextuality and the significance it gains with regards to the author, in relation to the vicissitudes experienced by him and many other coeval writers and intellectuals.
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Note: Building a Homeland upon the Ruins of Literature: al-Bukāʾ ʿalā al-aṭlāl by Ghālib Halasā as a Case Study
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1651689
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