Contextualizing Literary Events: The Example of Hanna Dyab‘s (Auto)Biographic Storytelling

Stephan, Johannes (23 August 2016). Contextualizing Literary Events: The Example of Hanna Dyab‘s (Auto)Biographic Storytelling (Unpublished). In: X Congress of Arab-Christian Studies. Rom. 22.-24.08.2016.

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In 1764 Arabian Night‘s story teller the Maronite Ḥanna Dyāb from Aleppo wrote a narrative about his journeys. This narrative starts to gain some prominence due to the French translation of his book of travels by Paule Fahmé-Thiéry et al., D‘Alep à Paris, 2015. The topic of my paper is part of my PhD dissertation in which I discuss the literariness of Ḥ. Dyāb‘s book of travels in order to place it within Arabic literary history. Inspired by the methodological framework of New Historicism (St. Greenblatt) I propose to look at this text as embedded in an extensive production of different kinds of texts in Aleppo that was partially triggered by a Catholicization of christian milieus. Although Ḥ. Dyāb‘s book does not seem to reflect an elaborate learned culture, its account discloses a clear statement on the ability to write in Arabic and the writing practice of its author-narrator. Furthermore, Dyāb‘s book of travels shows an impact of hagiographic story telling. Such impact is mostly embedded in his use of patterns of biographic writing. In so doing, I argue, Dyāb is able to recreate both his travel experience and his act of narrating it as a literary event. By placing Dyāb‘s book of travels within an context of writing biographies, I will finally explore the possible influence of hagiographic writing on the emergence of modern fictionality.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Stephan, Johannes


200 Religion > 270 History of Christianity
200 Religion > 290 Other religions
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 890 Other literatures
900 History
900 History > 910 Geography & travel




Johannes Stephan

Date Deposited:

12 Dec 2016 16:10

Last Modified:

12 Dec 2016 16:10


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