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The 'Pharaoh' Anecdote in Pre-Modern Arabic Historiography

Hirschler, Konrad (2010) 'The 'Pharaoh' Anecdote in Pre-Modern Arabic Historiography.' Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, 10 . pp. 45-74.

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Abstract

This article examines the development of the pharaoh as a literary figure in Arabic historiography between the third/ninth and the ninth/fifteenth centuries. The first aim is to reflect upon the changing narrative structure of such anecdotes in texts ranging from the universal chronicle of al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923) to the regional chronicle of al-Maqrīzī (d. 845/1442). The article’s second concern is to evaluate the plurality of meanings that emerged from these changes. This discussion is then linked to detailed consideration of the authors’ social contexts, with particular focus on that of al-Maqrīzī. The nexus between literary approach and social history that is proposed here offers a deeper understanding of the function of narrative resources that moved from text to text. Not only was this a salient feature of Arabic historiography, but also it allows us to reconsider the repeated appearance of such elements beyond describing them as simply ‘borrowing’ or ‘copying’. Indeed, the discussion concludes that authors skilfully drew from a pool of narrative devices and artfully established intertextual allusions across both time and genres.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 0806-198X
Depositing User: Konrad Hirschler
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2010 19:50
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/8257

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