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Blatherwick, Helen (2024) 'Osiris Reborn: The Arabic Epic of Sirat Sayf Ibn Dhi Yazan and the Prophetic Königsnovelle.' In: Lothspeich, Pamela, (ed.), The Epic World. London: Routledge, pp. 189-200. (The Routledge Worlds)

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Abstract

This chapter explores the intertextual relationship between Sīrat al-Malik Sayf ibn Dhī Yazan (The Adventures of King Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan), a medieval Egyptian popular epic, and the “Prophetic Königsnovelle” (Prophetic “Kings novel”), an Egyptian “discourse” dating to the Greco-Roman period. Through a comparative reading of two particular variants of Sīrat Sayf and the Prophetic Königsnovelle, I argue that, just as the Prophetic Königsnovelle is a response to the cultural trauma inflicted by external threats and foreign rule in ancient Egyptian times, the story of the foundation of Egypt in both Sīrat Sayf variants can be read as a veiled reworking of the history of the Arab conquest of Egypt in 639–642 CE. Furthermore, despite being separated by centuries, all three texts express the fears surrounding the loss of integrity of the socio-cultural unit through a shared conceptualization of kingship and power. The two Sayf variants branch out to follow quite different plots in their later stages, but the intertextual echoes of the Prophetic Königsnovelle that can be traced within them lend them subtextual thematic conformity, and indicate that the worldview expressed in the older Prophetic Königsnovelle lives on in this late-medieval epic.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: sīra shaʿbiyya; Egyptian mythology; kingship; interextuality in epics
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
ISBN: 9780367252366
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in Lothspeich, Pamela, (ed.), The Epic World. London: Routledge, pp. 189-200. (The Routledge Worlds) (2024). Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429286698-17
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 08:17
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/41384
Related URLs: https://www.rou ... k/9780367252366 (Publisher URL)

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