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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Spiritual symbolism in the Sahara: Ibrahim al-Koni's 'Nazif al-?ajar'
Author:Furniss Weisberg, Meg
Year:2015
Periodical:Research in African Literatures (ISSN 0034-5210)
Volume:46
Issue:3
Pages:46-67
Language:English
Geographic term:Libya
Subjects:Tuareg
Sufism
Sahara
deserts
literature
Link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v046/46.3.weisberg.pdf
Abstract:In his 1990 novel, 'Nazif al-?ajar' [The Bleeding of the Stone], Tuareg writer Ibrahim al-Koni draws on Tuareg practices and Sufi mysticism to depict the Sahara desert as inclusive, in proportion, balanced. The desert in this novel is both painstakingly specific and literal and also entirely mythological (us?uriya), which serves as a device to call into question the legitimacy or even reality of neocolonial power structures. By putting this novel in conversation with Western theories of categorization (following Agamben's work on the human-animal distinction) and looking at intertextual resonances with the Buddhist Jataka tale 'The Banyan Deer', explicit and implicit references to Islamic scriptures, and the preponderance of Sufi and Tuareg imagery and symbolism, the author argues that this novel questions the primacy or validity of Western novelistic and philosophical structures and offers an alternative, spiritually based 'reading' of the desert as both metaphor and ecosystem, based on balance and interconnection. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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