NES 370 / COM 459 / MED 370

Wonder and Discovery in Classical Arabic Literature

Lara Harb

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It is due to wonder, Aristotle tells us, that man began to philosophize. In the premodern Islamic world, wonder was also an experience linked with the pursuit of knowledge and discovery. It defined a spiritual attitude, an aesthetic outlook, and the encounter with strange and unknown worlds. We will explore the manifestations of wonder in medieval Arabic culture through reading travel narratives, medieval Arabic texts on the marvels of the world, fables, fantastic tales, poetry, and the Quran. We will also study medieval Arabic theoretical discussions of wonder as a literary effect.

View this course on the Registrar’s website.

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