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Nineteenth-Century US Literature in Middle Eastern Languages$
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Jeffrey Einboden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748645640

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645640.001.0001

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Mahomet or Muḥammad? Irving and ‘Alī Ḥusnī Al-Kharbūṭlī

Mahomet or Muḥammad? Irving and ‘Alī Ḥusnī Al-Kharbūṭlī

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter 2 Mahomet or Muḥammad? Irving and ‘Alī Ḥusnī Al-Kharbūṭlī
Source:
Nineteenth-Century US Literature in Middle Eastern Languages
Author(s):

Jeffrey Einboden

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748645640.003.0003

Chapter 2 addresses the Arabic translation of Washington Irving’s Life of Mahomet, reading this prophetic biography as rendered by the prolific Arab nationalist and Muslim historian, ‘Alī Ḥusnī al-Kharbūṭlī. Recalling Massel’s Hebrew reception of Longfellow, al-Kharbūṭlī’s Arabic translation - his 1960 Ḥayāt Muḥammad - seeks to reclaim sacred traditions and national precedents through revising its US source, refiguring Irving’s Mahomet as an advocate for Islamic orthodoxy. Chapter 2 also suggests, however, that such translatory revisionism offers an ironically fitting means of approaching Mahomet - a text which itself revises and re-imagines European appropriations of medieval Muslim sources. In tracing such processes of circulation and redaction, this chapter situates Irving’s text as a pivotal intermediary, seeing it as the transatlantic axis upon which al-Kharbūṭlī both converts and subverts the Orientalist Mahomet, advancing and reversing Western appropriations of the Arabian prophet.

Keywords:   Washington Irving, ‘Alī Ḥusnī al-Kharbūṭlī, Life of Mahomet, Arabic

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