'ut pictura poesis' and Aesthetic Kinship: A Case from Modern Arabic Prose

Nayef Ali Al-Joulan

Abstract


This paper responds to the ancient question about the relationship - or lack of it – between history and art, avoiding the partiality of many single-talented disciples of these creative endeavors. This matter is examined in The Tattoo (Al-Washm, ´alwašm), a collection of prose narratives written by Hind Abu-Sha’ar, a Professor of history, a painter, a poet, and an established short story writer. It examines the effect that her versatile experience, as a historian and painter, has on her language, by tracing the historian-painter, not as character, but, rather, as the essential writer of her narratives. In particular, it investigates the interrelatedness of the scriptural, sculptural, visual, and historical in her stories where the painter and the historian cooperate in injecting their visions into the essence of the language textures of the narratives. Abu-Sha’ar’s versatile talent produces a distinctive utterance in which the advantages of painting and graphic art are employed to achieve a visual dimension in the lexicon as the scriptural becomes sculptural; and history is exploited to enrich the painted narratives with visions from the heritage of the past. Thus, rather than being a record of dead past times, history is turned into an ever-present live-picture by the language of painting, an achievement that uncovers a psychological vision of notions of memory and recall and, hence, of history.Keywords: ut pictura poesis; ekphrasis; Hind Abu-Sha'ar; artistic versatility; aesthetics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.sll.1923156320100105.001

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