Abstract

One of the principal yet not favored consequences of approaching al-nahḍah has been representing it as another paramount example of world literature. There is, however, little interest in foregrounding what the (Arab) nahḍah does not share with the other renaissances, that is, the literary/cultural phenomena that are closely culture-bound. In view of seeing al-nahḍah's “Big Picture,” a global-only or local-only approach is inadequate and short of intellectual insight. Therefore, the idiosyncratic, diverse, and, at times, complex textual and cultural productions of the (Arab) nahḍah call for a “glocal” approach. Al-nahḍah's diverse narratives and literacies invoke, among other things, questions of translingualism and multimodality. With the advent of printing, radical and lasting transformations underwent al-nahḍah's narratives and literacies, as with the reception of zajal recitals for both reading and listening audiences. In addition, the shift from manuscripts to printed books not only radically changed literacy conventions but likewise introduced “new” arts like book illustration, caricature, and comics, not to overlook fundamental developments in composition. More specifically, the journals of Ya'qūb Ṣannū' (1839–1912), where fuṣḥā Arabic, colloquial Egyptian, and French coexist, along with illustrated caricatures, can be viewed as evidence of al-nahḍah's translingual and multimodal literacies.

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