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The Barber of DamascusNouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant$
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Dana Sajdi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785327

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785327.001.0001

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“Cheap” Monumentality

“Cheap” Monumentality

The Nouveau Literates and Their Texts

(p.77) Chapter 3 “Cheap” Monumentality
The Barber of Damascus

Dana Sajdi

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the larger phenomenon of nouveau literacy in the texts of the Greek Orthodox Priest, Mikhā’īl Burayk; the Shī`ī agriculturalists of southern Lebanon, Ḥaydar Aḥmad Riḍā al-Rukaynī and his unnamed son; the Samaritan scribe from Nablus, Ibrāhīm al-Danafī; the judicial court scribe from Ḥimṣ, Muḥamad al-Makkī; and by the two Damascene soldiers, Ḥasan Āghā al-`Abd and Ḥasan Ibn al-Ṣiddīq. The chronicles are seen as “‘cheap’ monumentality” since they, like monuments, are public records meant for display and negotiation, but are cheap because they are affordable investments. The chapter demonstrates how each of these new historians navigated and negotiated in the new order through their chronicles. The chapter also considers the language of the chronicles to show how the new authors flouted the rules of textual Arabic to write chronicle “in plain Arabic,” a fact which may suggest wide audiences.

Keywords:   Mikhā’īl Burayk, Ḥaydar Aḥmad Riḍā al-Rukaynī, Ibrāhīm al-Danafī, Muḥamad al-Makkī, Ḥasan Āghā al-`Abd, Ḥasan Ibn al-Ṣiddīq, textual Arabic, “‘cheap’ monumentality”, “in plain Arabic”

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