Christian Junge

Christian Junge studied Comparative Literature and Arabic Studies in Berlin, Paris and Cairo. He was Junior Lecturer at the Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. From 2011 to 2015 he was Fellow of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he received his PhD with a study on “The Exposure of Words – Gender, Pleasure, and Language in al-Shidyaq’s ‘as-Saq’ (1855)”. Since 2015, he is lecturer and research assistant at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at the Philipps-University Marburg.  His research focuses on modern Arabic literature and philology in the 19th century and affect in the 21st century. His most recent publications include: “On Affect and Emotion as Dissent: The Kifāya-Rhetoric in Pre-Revolutionary Egyptian Literature“, in: Commitment and Beyond. Reflections on/of the Political in Arabic Literature Since the 1940s, Friederike Pannewick, Georges Khallil (Eds.), Wiesbaden (2015). He is also co-coordinator (together with Barbara Winckler) of the international summerschool project “Arabische Philologien im Blickwechsel –نحو دراسات عربية برؤى متعددة” (www.arabic-philologies.de) that seeks to strengthen Arabic as a modern language of research.

 

Enumeration as Adab: On Lists That Matter

Enumeration is an important, yet often neglected feature of both classical and modern Arabic literature that importantly constitute the ‘literariness’ of its texts. This paper presents a broad range of examples from classical to postmodern literature, including texts from authors like al-Tawhidi, al-Nafzawi, al-Shidyaq, Darwish and Khoury, in order to reveal the importance of this feature in Arabic literature. Drawing from studies of Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco and Sabine Mainberger, this paper discusses different theoretical perspectives on enumeration.

While enumeration is a very widespread phenomenon, its contribution to Adab is very different according to its authors, genres, periods and – most importantly –  to different concepts of Adab and its ‘adabiyya’ or ‘literariness’. My paper traces the tight relationship between lexicography and literature. Focussing on the ‘thinking of language’ (Sprachdenken) in these texts as a metalinguistic and metaliterary autopoiesis, it analyses the epistemic and aesthetic importance of word lists for Adab texts in different period of times.

From a more general perspective, Adab itself is enumerative: it may be described as a compilation of texts for certain epistemic and aesthetic purposes. If we translate this enumerative understanding of classical Adab texts to modern Adab texts, one might shift the focus from the narration (sard) to enumeration (sard) and develop a new understanding of literary textuality as an enumerative “art of anthology” or as an compiling archive of texts, words, and thoughts.