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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the medieval turn in modern Arabic fiction, which includes historical reconstruction, neo-historicism, topographical narration, Sufi dreams and visions, allegorical travelogues, biographies, chats and anecdotes, and majālis, or assemblies accommodating hashish addicts and Sufi gatherings. The chapter first considers the Arabic historical novel before turning to narrative genealogies in modern Arabic fiction in which visions and dreams are present as markers of medieval Sufism and poetics. It then explores the phenomenal growth of Sufism among peasants, craftsmen, and artisans, including women; Arabic novels that connect well with the khiṭaṭ genre; the travelogue as a venue for an allegorical critique; the use of Qur’anic phrases or catchwords in Arabic narratives; and works entrenched in classical style. The chapter provides examples to dispute the notion that pre-modern Arab culture has not survived its encounter with Europe and the engagement with European literary norms.

Keywords: Arabic fiction, neo-historicism, dreams, allegorical travelogue, Arabic historical novel, Sufism, khiṭaṭ, Qur’an, Arabic narrative

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