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Storytelling and performance in medieval iberian frametale and Maqāma

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the encoding of storytelling performances in Kalīla wa-Dimna, a framed collection of fables that by the twelfth century had become a widely read classic of Arabic literature. The popularity of Kalīla and its influence on later Arabic, Latin, and Castilian literature makes it quite likely that it would have served as a model for the textual encoding of performance for later works of fiction in Arabic. Two centuries after the appearance of Kalīla, and perhaps in reaction to the tradition of fictional storytelling encoded within it, the Arabic maqāma genre of prose fiction introduces a different model of performance in literary narrative, one based on the oral transmission of hadīt, the sayings of Muhammad. Performance is a highly reflexive genre of discourse that as opposed to non-performative conversation and interaction calls attention to its existence and purpose as a genre.

Keywords: Arabic literature; hadīt; Kalīla wa-Dimna; Kalīla; maqāma; medieval Iberian frametale; Muhammad



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