Mapping Frontiers Across Medieval Islam Geography, Translation and the 'Abbasid Empire

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-08-15
  • Publisher: Tauris Academic Studies
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The story of the 9th-century caliphal mission from Baghdad to discover the legendary barrier against the apocalyptic nations of Gog and Magog mentioned in the Quran, has been either dismissed as superstition or treated as historical fact. By exploring the intellectual and literary history surrounding the production and early reception of this adventure, Travis Zadeh traces the conceptualization of frontiers within early 'Abbasid society and re-evaluates the modern treatment of marvels and monsters inhabiting medieval Islamic descriptions of the world. Examining the roles of translation, descriptive geography, and salvation history in the projection of early 'Abbasid imperial power, this book is essential for all those interested in Islamic studies, the 'Abbasid dynasty and its politics, geography, religion, Arabic and Persian literature and European Orientalism.

Author Biography

Travis Zadeh is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Haverford College, Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from Harvard in Comparative Literature (2007), and has published in the Journal of Arabic Literature and the Journal of Qur'anic Studies, with forthcoming publications in the Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures and the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Table of Contents

Introduction * Geography, Translation, and the Apocalypse * Routes and Kingdoms * Models of Translation * Al-Wathiq and the Translators * Marvelous Alterity * A Geography of Neighbours * Pictura ut poesis * Beyond the Barrier * To Live to Tell * Past the Walls of the Orient * Translating along the Margins * Postscript: Royal Graffiti * Index * Bibliography

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