Between Symphony and Novel: 'Ali Badr's Haris al-Tabg (The Tobacco Keeper)

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Over the course of the last decades scholars have shown a growing interest inthe link between narrative and music, and “Musico-literary” is currently anemergent discipline among comparatists and literary critics. Concerning Arabnarrative, it is possible to identify the influence of music on some contemporaryfictional works. In this study I will try to analyse Ḥāris al-tabġ (The TobaccoKeeper, 2008), a novel written by the Iraqi novelist ‘Alī Badr. The novel retracesthe history of Iraq since the 40’s through the biography of an outstandingviolinist who represents only a facet of a triple personality. The novel is deeplyinfluenced by Fernando Pessoa’s poetics, and is conceived and structured on therules and principles of musical theories. In taking music as his inspiration, ‘AlīBadr seeks to conduct a personal inquiry into those generations of liberal Iraqisinfluenced by Western culture. Furthermore Ḥāris al-tabġ participates in thelively theoretical debate on the status of meaning both in music and literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-224
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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