This book approaches the Qur'an as a primary source for delineating the definition of ugliness, and by extension beauty, and in turn establishing meaningful tools and terms for literary criticism within the discipline of classical Arabic literature (adab). Focusing on the aesthetic dimension of the Qur'an, this methodology opens up new horizons for reading adab by reading the tradition from within the tradition and thereby examining issues of "decontextualisation" and the "untranslatable." This approach, in turn, invites Comparatists, as well as Arabists, to consider other means and perspectives for approaching adab besides the Bakhtinian carnival. Applying this critical strategy to literary works as diverse as One Thousand and One Nights and The Epistle of Forgiveness, Sarah R. bin Tyeer aims to prove two major points: how Bakhtin's aesthetics is anachronistic and therefore theoretically inappropriate when applied to certain literary works and how ultimately this literary methodology is sometimes used as a proxy for ungrounded and, sometimes, unfair arguments by other scholars.
Foreword by Angelika Neuwirth, Professor of Quranic studies, Freie University, Berlin, Germany.
Part I The Hermeneutics of the Qur'an for the Arts: Key Terms
Chapter 1 Husn: The Route to a Conceptual Query
Chapter 2 Qubh and the Way to Hell
Chapter 3 Hell and the Aesthetics of qubh
Chapter 4 Language: Beautiful Speech/Ugly Speech
Part II Popular Literature: Thousand and One Nights
Chapter 5 The Aesthetics of Reason
Chapter 6 Of Misplacement of Things, People and Decorum
Chapter 7 The Transgression of Reason
Part III Canonical Literature
Chapter 8 Beautifying the Ugly and Uglifying the Beautiful
Chapter 9 The Littérateurs of Hell and Heaven
Coda: The Interpretation and Misinterpretation of adab in Modern Scholarship