Myths, Historical Archetypes and Symbolic Figures in Arabic Literature. Proceedings of the Symposium held at the Orient-Institut Beirut
Myths, Historical Archetypes and Symbolic Figures in Arabic Literature was the topic of the first international symposium held at the Orient Institute in Beirut after its fully reopening. To raise the question about the presence and meaning of myth and related phenomena in Arabic literature appears to be an adventure. Myth is not only judged a taboo in orthodox Islam, it is also extremely difficult to define. Furthermore, the complex dimensions of the relationship between literature and myth have so far not been paid much attention to in the research on Arabic literature. Therefore our primary interest was to stimulate a new sensibility for the mythical-archetypal ‘subtexts’ that frequently underlie classical as well as modem literature. Such subtexts, structures of interaction that allude to archetypal experience, enrich the literary work with a particular mythical-archetypal code, i.e. signs that call for decoding. A reading with merely socio-critical, stylistic or structural interest would not do justice to such texts, as it would neglect an important dimension of -meaning' inherent in them.
Gathering together in Beirut specialists of Arabic literary studies from Germany, Lebanon, other European and Arab countries, the United States and Canada provided the opportunity to reunite the two sections of our discipline, the classical and the modern, which in our time often appear to be drifting apart from each other in academic -work.
1999. Paperback, 640 pages, 17.0 x 24.0 cm