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The Sufi and the Idol: Abdelwahab Meddeb’s Autobiographies

  • Ziad Elmarsafy
Thursday 6 April 2017
WHAT's NEW!? Spring Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

About "The Sufi and the Idol: Abdelwahab Meddeb’s Autobiographies"

In this lecture, Ziad Elmarsafy will focus on a curious pattern in the work of Tunisian writer Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946-2014). Across multiple genres and styles Meddeb consistently reverts to the autobiographical mode. At the same time he privileges the mystical register through references and allusions to the heritage of the Sufis and the visual register via the history of Western art. Through a close reading of Meddeb’s translation of al-Suhrawardi’s fable, “Qissat al-Ghurba al-Gharbiyya,” the last version of which was published in Meddeb’s L’exil occidental, Elmarsafy will analyse the strategies and aims of Meddeb’s insistence on this synthesis of the mystical, the visual and the visionary.

About Ziad Almarsafy

Ziad Elmarsafy is professor of Comparative Literature at King’s College London. He is the author of Sufism in the Contemporary Arabic Novel (2012) and the co-editor of What Postcolonial Theory Doesn’t Say (2015).

This lecture is part of the WHAT'S NEW?! Spring Lecture Series


Faculty Roundtable | Innovation and Tradition: The Odd Couple

Ziad Elmarsafy will participate in a Faculty Roundtable. This Faculty Roundtable will take place on Wednesday April 5th, from 13:00 to 15:00 hours in Lipsius 228. This roundtable is in English and open to all. This roundtable focuses on the relationship between innovation and tradition. Innovation and tradition are often portrayed as two entities that are either contradicting or in conflict with each other. According to popular notion, traditions form a barrier for innovation, while the introduction of new innovations are considered to destabilize or outright destroy traditions. But is this so? This roundtable explores the symbiotic relationship between Innovation and tradition: “The Odd Couple.” New innovations are often embedded within traditions, a dialogue that makes them acceptable for society.

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