اللغة المزدوجة بين الممحوّ والمسطور: ابن عربي ودانتي / The Palimpsest of the Bilingual Author: Ibn ʿArabi and Dante



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المؤدب, عبد الوهاب; Meddeb, Abdelwahab; غزول, فريال جبوري; Ghazoul, Ferial J.

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Research Article

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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[Meddeb who was authored poetic, mystic and philosophical texts presents in this testimonial article his experience as a bilingual writer while wavering between direct and indirect modes of self-representation. Meddeb starts by describing his assimilation of language(s) in his childhood and ends with a figurative description of the tension inherent in his poetic activity as an Arab author writing in French. In the middle, Meddeb engages in a sophisticated analysis and comparison of Dante and Ibn 'Arabi-his two maîtres de pensée-showing the unspoken of and the "erased" debt of Dante to Ibn 'Arabi, specifically in the notion of al-khayal al-munfasil, detached imagination, as the foundation of visionary literature. Meddeb was brought up on the Tunisian dialect, which he considers his maternal tongue, and Quranic Arabic viewed as his paternal language, since his father-a Zeitouni Shaykh-taught it to him. In his lack of comprehension and yet complete captivation by the divine cadences, Meddeb associated ambiguity with the sacred and was awed by the fleeting meaning. Thus he experienced language as double. This was further reinforced when he enrolled in French schools. Meddeb speaks of his bilingually-informed creativity in a striking image: The undulation of French is like sea waves breaking on the shores of Arabic. The latter is guaranteed "solidity" by the immanence of the sacred. According to Meddeb, the "liquidity" of French and its rupture with the invariant begins with Dante who introduced the historical dimension into his otherwise imaginative and symbolic Divine Comedy. Ibn 'Arabi, on the other hand, dismissed the real and the actual, apart from occasional autobiographical references, thus exemplifying medieval aesthetics with its single-minded preoccupation with the sacred.]

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