Friday, March 31, 2006

Amin Maalouf

There was a lovely interview with one of my intellectual heroes, Amin Maalouf, on BBC World this morning. As with another favourite thinker, Michel Serres, Maalouf's work has been occluded by louder brusquer voices. If you've not read him before, the place to start is Leo the African. Maalouf's project is to redeem an intellectual, cultured arab world (through literary fiction) that is intertwined with Western culture. One of the most interesting points of the interview for me was his reference to Lebanon as the historical bridge between both worlds..


St Antonym 11:46 pm  

Speaking of Leo Africanus, I was browsing in the bookshop yesterday and came across a recently released book that delves into his story.

The author, Natalie Zemon Davis, is an amazing historian- I had always thought her field was the French renaissance (16th c.), but the lady apparently can do medieval Arabia as well.

From Stephen Greenblatt's review:

"Trickster Travels is a masterpiece of the historian’s craft and craftiness. A brilliant storyteller, Natalie Zemon Davis reconstructs the life of Al-Hasan al-Wazzan, the great Renaissance geographer known to the West as Leo Africanus. And what a life it was: exile from Muslim Spain in the wake of the Catholic conquest; restless travels in Africa in the service of the sultan of Fez; capture by pirates and imprisonment in Rome; conversion to Christianity and release from prison; an outpouring of remarkable books, introducing Africa and Islam to European intellectuals; and finally a return to North Africa and to the language, culture and faith in which he had been raised. Davis’ great gift lies not only in her tenacious ability to follow this twisting path but also in her scholarly determination to tease out its rich implications. This is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand what it means to live between two violently warring worlds."

Jeremy 11:30 am  

thanks for the reference st antonym. I shall look it up. Se you are duduyemi's altar-ego?

St Antagonym,  3:28 pm  

You guys are intellectuals. It maks this blog very interesting.

priscilla prefix,  3:31 pm  

First, it was st antonym, and there was st synonym. Now, who is st antagonym? Is this an unfolding story? Interesting!

St Antonym 3:31 pm  

Duduyemi c'est moi.

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