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Khouloud Khalfallah


Classifying the Variety of the Arabic Versions of Kalīla wa-Dimna

Classifying the Variety of the Arabic Versions of Kalīla wa-Dimna

Kalīla wa-Dimna of Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ (724-757) is a unique and fascinating piece of global literature that does not stop developing and changing over time. The reproduction of this book, probably since an early stage of its genesis, formed a broad-spectrum of variations. In fact, this book has always been very appealing for redactors and copyists to perform several arts of modifications. The variety of versions of this work may be explained by the complexity of its historical background, the abundance of its allegorical substories, along with its analogical images and wisdom sayings. From rewriting a paragraph, or a substory to adding a complete chapter, this continuous work of editing has kept the book in a permanent metamorphose. In this project, I would like to achieve some clarity about the variance within the Arabic versions of Kalīla wa-Dimna at different levels: macrostructural level, mesostructural level, and microstructural level. Due to the challenges, this task represents - since I have to work with more than one hundred manuscripts, from the 13th century to the 20th century- I decided to adapt and combine different methods of classifications and focus on distinctive features in each level of comparison. To apply these methods I choose to work with four chapters, two chapters consistently present in the book, the chapter of Owls and Crows, the chapter of the King and His Dreams, and two rare chapters from different origins and different parts of the book: the Preface by ʿAlī b. al-Shāh, and finally the chapter of The King of the Mice.


Erstbetreuung: Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler

Zweitbetreuung: Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler