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Recognition in the Arabic Narrative TraditionDiscovery, Deliverance and Delusion$
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Philip F. Kennedy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474413725

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474413725.001.0001

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Imposture and Allusion in the Picaresque Maqāmah1

Imposture and Allusion in the Picaresque Maqāmah1

(p.246) 5 Imposture and Allusion in the Picaresque Maqāmah1
Recognition in the Arabic Narrative Tradition

Philip F. Kennedy

Edinburgh University Press

Recognition stories lend themselves to easy parody. A few examples exist in the Arabian Nights, depending on how one leans in interpretation. There is a case to be made that the maqāmāt (sing. maqāmah, often rendered ‘seances’ or ‘assemblies’) are in large measure parodies of the art of storytelling or of the values with which stories can be burdened by a culture. Intrigues of disguise and imposture all make for good stories in which manifold deceit is veiled at first, and then exposed. Sometimes the story itself may be exposed, for a good story about forgery will stir suspicions that the story too has been fabricated. Allusive narratives exacerbate the point since they are texts in which much detail and significance lie under the surface in the play on language. The rhetorical figures of al-Oarīrī’s maqāmāt emphasise the sensation that one thing – a word, or even just a phoneme – can have two very different, and sometimes even contrary, meanings.

Keywords:   Recognition, Arabic Narrative, Intertextuality, Qur’an, Epistemology, Arabic Literary Tradition, Storytelling, Imposture and Allusion

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