Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

A multilingual journal published annually, featuring original scholarly articles in Arabic, English, and occasionally French. Each multidisciplinary issue is dedicated to a specific theme.

Articles from No. 24, Annual

A Wistful Lament for an Irrecoverable Loss
Reminiscing over the past while surrounded by ancient Egyptian temples in Luxor, the author of this testimonial essay reflects on the significance of the past in personal and collective consciousness. Drawing on her own experience, she views all search...
Egypt in Greco-Roman History and Fiction *
This article sketches Greek and Roman views towards the ancient Egyptians as a prelude to examining the metaphorical resonance of Egypt in the fiction of the imperial period of ancient literature. Both the Greeks and the Romans wrote about Egypt as...
From Past to Present and Future: The Regenerative Spirit of the Abiku
This article investigates the representation of the famous West African abiku phenomenon in three works by three Nigerian writers, namely, J. P. Clark-Bekederemo's poem "Abiku" (1965), Wole Soyinka's poem also entitled "Abiku" (1967) and Ben Okri's...
History and Poetry
History is about research and analysis, it clarifies and classifies, whereas poetry describes the mess that historians try to clear up. In illustrating the difference between history and poetry, the author excavates the 'historical influence' in his...
Memory, Inequality, and Power: Palestine and the Universality of Human Rights *
Stressing the role of collective memory in the survival of Palestinian people in the diaspora, Said argues for acknowledging the rights of the Palestinians as a people, since human rights are universal. No earthly or divine dispensation could excuse...
Musical Recall: Postmemory and the Punjabi Diaspora
The Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 has profoundly altered the geopolitics and demography of South Asia, generating also large-scale diasporic movements to Britain from the regions most deeply affected thereby, such as the Punjab. Deploying...
"Nothing but Little Lines"
This philosophical essay--written in a non-conventional and playful way, in the form of a dialogue with a friend and with other philosophers ranging from Socrates to Gilles Deleuze--asks the elemental question of what philosophy is and why such a question...
The Archeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the New
This issue of Alif is inspired by Doris Enright-Clark Shoukri and her approach to literary appreciation. Steeped in the Classics and having worked on medieval Latin texts for her doctorate, she nevertheless taught and continues to teach modern and...
The Uses of Interpretation in Hamlet
Hamlet is the most problematic play ever written. Inconsistencies arise from the variousness of its medieval and Renaissance sources; from discrepancies between printed versions of Shakespeare's drama; and from a host of unresolved thematic and psychological...
Travelers from an Antique Land: Shelley's Inspiration for "Ozymandias"
An enduring myth about artists of all kinds is that work arises from personal physical experience. A case in point is Shelley's great political sonnet "Ozymandias," which is conventionally presumed to have been "inspired" by an ancient Egyptian sculpture....
Valentinus et Nomina: Saussure, Plato, and Signification
The mythology of Valentinus, the Christian Gnostic, is replete with the fascinating suggestion that names have salvific power. In The Gospel of Truth, he says that God uses names to call beings into existence, and that "the name of the Father is the...
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