(Ḫarā’iṭ muntaṣaf al-layl (Midnight Maps, 2009) by ‘Alī Badr: Redefining the geographical and cultural imaginary of the Mediterranean)
in La rivista di Arablit, a. IV, n. 7-8, dicembre 2014, pp. 7-17.
This paper represents an early stage of a research on the literary genre of al-riḥlah, the travelogue, within the Arab literary production of the last two decades. This research is designed to fill a gap in existing studies on contemporary Arabic travelogues: the riḥlāt written in the classical period until the nahḍah, the Arab renaissance, has been deeply analysed by scholars, who have almost completely neglected the travelogues created by contemporary authors. The present paper will focus on Ḫarā’iṭ muntaṣaf al-layl (Midnight Maps), published by the Iraqi author ‘Alī Badr in 2009, and awarded the “Ibn Battuta Prize for Contemporary Travel Literature” in 2010. In this travelogue, ‘Alī Badr describes his journey through Tehran, Istanbul, Algiers, Athens, Cyprus, Paris, Marseille. He emphasizes the literary dimension of the journey to retrieve and renew the sense of discovery characterizing famous XIX century Arab travelogues.
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