With kind regards: May 2022
- Peter Webb
- Olivia Elder
- Tuesday 28 June 2022
- With kind regards: Convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Note: This event has been moved from 31-5 to 28-6
Olivia Elder (University of Oxford): “(Re)public affairs: language, politics and friendship in Cicero’s letters”
Peter Webb (Leiden University): "Ibn Zaydūn’s al-Risālah al-hazaliyyah"
Ibn Zaydūn’s (d. 463/1071) al-Risālah al-hazaliyyah – the ‘Witty Letter’ or the ‘Flippant Letter’ was, at the point of its composition, an exercise in anti-convention. Ibn Zaydūn pretended he was a woman and wrote the letter as an overt, insulting lampoon. Yet it was also a quintessentially conventional letter: the language is impeccable, the style erudite, and it seems that Ibn Zaydūn’s ulterior intention was to demonstrate his mastery of epistolographic conventions. The Letter’s afterlife further embedded its conventional-ness as it became one of the most famous exemplars of high literary style letter writing in Arabic. This lecture will consider what rules Ibn Zaydūn broke, and which rules his Letter wrote for the traditions of Arabic literary epistolography.
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