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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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Cutting the Barber's Tale

Cutting the Barber's Tale

The Afterlives of a History

(p.174) Chapter 6 Cutting the Barber's Tale
The Barber of Damascus

Dana Sajdi

Stanford University Press

This chapter ventures into the nineteenth century and examines the bowdlerized version of Ibn Budayr's chronicle as “edited and refined” by the Damascene scholar, Muḥamad Sa`īd al-Qāsimī. The chapter juxtaposes the two versions to expose the variances between the two texts and hence examines the historical vision and the ideological import of the editor's alterations to the barber's chronicle. Al-Qāsimī was a transitional figure who bridged the premodern scribal age to the print age of al-Nahḍa. Al-Qāsimī's Nahḍa- informed ideas about correct language and content of history leads him to alter both the content and form of the chronicle in such a way as to mute the barber's voice and “put him back in his place.” The purpose of the editor is to recreate the barber's book as a record of a Damascene heritage (turāth).

Keywords:   Muḥamad Sa`īd al-Qāsimī, al-Nahḍa (the Arab Renaissance), Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī, bowdlerization, Heritage (turāth)

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