Ignaty Krachkovsky’s Encounters with Arabic Literary Modernity through Amīn Al-Riḥānī
AMEEN RIHANI'S ARAB-AMERICAN LEGACY, Naji Oueijan, ed., Notre Dame University Press, 2012
19 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2012 Last revised: 4 Mar 2013
Date Written: January 14, 2012
Over the course of his long life, the Russian Arabist Ignaty Krachkovsky was one of the Lebanese writer Amīn al-Riḥānī (English spelling: Ameen Rihani)’s most astute readers, translators, and critics. Krachkovsky composed two prefaces to his Russian translations (dated 1917 and 1922) of Rihani’s Arabic works, the first of which was translated into Arabic in 1928 and later reprinted in Beirut in 1930. Both of these works are translated here for the first time from Russian into English. Krachkovsky also reflected on al-Riḥānī’s significance in multiple Russian-language overviews of the literary movement he termed “New Arabic Literature” (novoarabskaia literatura) and in his German-language writings on the literature of the Arab Emigration. Although Krachkovsky met al-Riḥānī only once in his life, this encounter became a subject of reflection in later writings and stimulated the Russian Arabist’s lifelong and highly productive engagement with al-Riḥānī’s work. The pre-history and afterlife to Krachkovsky’s encounter with Arabic literary modernity through the works and personality of Amīn al-Riḥānī are reflected on here in a critical introduction to the translations.
Keywords: Arabic, literary modernity, Russian, Orientalism, Levant, translation
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