Exposing Words! al- Shidyāq‘s Literary Lists as Social and Cultural Critique

Christian Junge / Philipps-Universität Marburg


Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq (1805/1806–1887) is regarded as one of the most important Arab intellectuals of the nineteenth century. In 1855, in Paris, he published his masterpiece, al-Sāq ʿalā al-sāq (Leg Over Leg, or, The Turtle in the Tree), a landmark in modern Arabic literature. In the framework of the 'return to philology' (Edward Said), this talk discusses al-Shidyāq's language thinking as a committed social and cultural critique. 


Christian Junge is a lecturer and researcher in the field of modern Arabic literature and culture at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Philipps-Universität Marburg. His main areas of research are Arabic literature of the nineteenth century, emotions in Egyptian prose and Arabic language in postcolonial theory. His latest publication is: Die Entblößung der Wörter. aš-Šidyāqs literarische Listen als Kultur- und Gesellschaftskritik im 19. Jahrhundert (Reichert 2019).​