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Hikayat Abi al-QasimA Literary Banquet$
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Emily Selove

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402316

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402316.001.0001

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Crashing the Text

Crashing the Text

(p.103) 3 Crashing the Text
Hikayat Abi al-Qasim

Emily Selove

Edinburgh University Press

This Chapter shows that Abūl-Qāsim is part of a literary tradition of party-crashing characters, and that in this tradition, the tension between food and language serves to problematise the representational potentials of language. It discusses other famous works of banquet or sympotic literature, like IbnBuṭlān’s Da‘wat al-aṭibbā’, Plato's Symposium, Xenophon's Symposium, Athenaeus's Deipnosophistae, and Petronius's Cena. Some of these texts use a party-crashing character as a kind of intratextual narrator, and all of them play food and words off of one another, raising questions about language that claims to be didactic or to represent reality, but which sometimes, by contrast, seems to be nonsensical, or to deliberately mislead or confuse the reader.

Keywords:   party-crashing/gate-crashing, nonsense, food and language, Cena, Deipnosophistae, Symposium, intratextual narrator, didactic language

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