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Title: Mirror Images in al-Andalus: The Quest for Self-Identity in Two Arabic Travelogues
Keywords: travelogueArab travelogue
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Cristiana Baldazzi, "Mirror Images in al-Andalus: The Quest for Self-Identity in Two Arabic Travelogues", in: Cinzia Ferrini (Edited by), "Human Diversity in Context", Trieste EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2020, pp. 143-166
This essay aims to bring to light the approach to Spain that two Arab intellectuals, the Egyptian writer Aḥmad Zakī (1867-1934) and the Lebanese painter Muṣṭāfà Farrūkh (1901-1951), had in common. Both of them wrote a travelogue: Zakī’s Riḥla ilà l-mu’tamar was published in 1893 and Farrūkh’s Riḥla ilà bilād al-majd al-mafqūd (was published in 1930. Zakī, in keeping with the methodology that was typical of the classical Arab travelogue (adab al-rihla), described all the European cities he visited on his way to his ultimate destination, the Congress of Oriental Scholars in London. On his return journey he stopped off in Spain which, he admitted unequivocally, was the country where he felt most at home. Farrūkh, on the other hand, went directly to Spain to gather evidence on the artistic heritage that the Arabs had left in Andalusia. Despite the differences in their works, both authors find in Spain a testimony to the ancient glory of its Muslim past, a fact which was in direct contrast to what they considered to be the general ignorance of other European countries at the same period. For both the authors, Spain was an example of the past greatness of Arabic civilization that belonged to the West as much as it did to the East and should, therefore, be considered by the Arabs as a means whereby they could emerge from the impasse of their decline. It was in the Other which they found in Spain that they discovered themselves: they saw the Spaniards of their day as being similar to the Arabs because it was precisely to the latter that they were indebted for their own talent. They were, in fact, a mirror image that both authors could make work in the construction of the idea of a modern Arabic State.
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-88-5511-112-6
eISBN: 978-88-5511-113-3
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Human Diversity in Context

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