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Stories of hashish eaters in the Mamlūk period : a study and a partial critical edition of the Rāḥat al-arwāḥ fī l-ḥašīš wa-l-rāḥ of Badr al-Dīn Abū l-Tuqā al-Badrī (847-894/1443-1489)

Thesis

<10670/1.zenonn>
KeywordsTriple Keywords
Facetiae
Wit and humor
Ridiculous, The
Wit and humor, Primitive
Ludicrous, The
Jokes
Bons mots
Humor
Jests
Novellas (Short novels)
Stories
Metafiction
Fiction
Novels
Fiction--Philosophy
Poetry--Philosophy
Poems
Poetry
Verses (Poetry)
Literature
World literature
Western literature (Western countries)
Belles-lettres
Beauty
Aesthetics
Beautiful, The
Esthetics
Taste (Aesthetics)
Number concept
Images, Mental
Imagery, Mental
Mental images
Imagination
Mental imagery
Criticism--Technique
Evaluation of literature
Literary criticism
Literature--Evaluation
Criticism
Prose literature
Experience

Abstract

In this study we explore the link between hashish and humor through the analysis of Arabic stories contained in the Rāḥat al-arwāḥ fī l-ḥašīš wa-l-rāḥ (“The delight of the souls on hashish and wine”), written by Badr al-Dīn Abū l-Tuqā al-Badrī (847-894/1443-1489), that exists in four manuscripts of which only two were known until now. This work, of which no complete edition has been established yet, seems to be the oldest and most comprehensive Arabic anthology containing poetry and anecdotes inspired by hashish. In the first part we discuss hashish from a historical, medical, legal and religious perspective. Early on, hashish was used in medical treatments and for the manufacture of ropes and fabrics but it is not clear when cannabis (qinnab) has changed from a remedy into an intoxicating and a recreational substance. However, the use of this herb had become a social problem, since between the VIIth/XIIIth and the VIIIth/XIVth centuries several ʿulamā’ wrote about it and the consumption of hashish was considered among the munkarāt (forbidden or reprehensible actions), as well as wine (ḫamr), fornication (zinā) and homosexuality (liwāṭ). Literature quickly represented the psychotropic experiences. Thus the aesthetics of hashish consumption is the main issue of the second part of our study. There, we focus on some comic motifs that appear in a number of anecdotes and we prove that the ḥaššāš character acts as a «thematic catalyst» of literary motifs which were associated in classical Arabic literature with drunkenness, insanity and foolishness. Thus, the order of our presentation is: the mistake; hashish, insanity and foolishness; dream and imagination and finally food and avidity. We infer from this, that the hashish eater as literary motif represents the process of crystallization of a humorous narrative character that took shape during the first part of the post-abbasid period and developed from a series of narrative materials earlier attributed to other literary figures.

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