Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture: A Ninth Century Bookman in Baghdad, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture

A Ninth Century Bookman in Baghdad, 1st Edition

By Shawkat M. Toorawa


218 pages

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Toorawa re-evaluates the literary history and landscape of third to ninth century Baghdad by demonstrating and emphasizing the significance of the important transition from a predominantly oral-aural culture to an increasingly literate one. This transformation had a profound influence on the production of learned and literary culture; modes of transmission of learning; nature and types of literary production; nature of scholarly and professional occupations and alliances; and ranges of meanings of certain key concepts, such as plagiarism. In order to better understand these, attention is focused on a central but understudied figure, Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur (d. 280 to 893), a writer, schoolmaster, scholar and copyist, member of important literary circles, and a significant anthologist and chronicler. This book will appeal to anyone interested in Arabic literary culture and history, and those with an interest in books, writing, authorship and patronage.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. From Memory to Written Record 2. Being a Bookman in Baghdad 3. Navigating Partisan Shoals in Writerly Baghdad 4. Writerly Networks of Baghdad 5. Ibn Abi Tahir's Output and Writerly Culture 6. Ibn Abi Tahir's Poetry and Writerly Culture Conclusion: Revisiting Arabic Literary History

About the Author

Shawkat M. Toorawa is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature at Cornell University. He has co-authored Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (University of California, 2001); co-edited Arabic Literary Culture, 500-925 (Gale, 2004); and translated Adonis's A Time between Ashes and Roses (Syracuse University Press, 2004).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures

Routledge Curzon Studies in Middle-Eastern Literatures is a monograph series devoted to aspects of the literatures of the Near and Middle East and North Africa both modern and pre-modern. It is hoped that the provision of such a forum will lead to a greater emphasis on the comparative study of the literatures of this area, although studies devoted to one literary or linguistic region are warmly encouraged. It is the editors' objective to foster the comparative and multi-disciplinary investigation of the written and oral literary products of this area.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Middle East / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies