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Name Karen Carducci Date 16-12-29 22:43


Purpose of Participation Presentation
Name Karen Carducci
Affiliation The Catholic University of America
Status Doctoral candidate
Title of Paper Proposal An Eastern Jocasta: Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm’s Gendered Islamization of Sophocles’ "Oedipus Tyrannus"
Abstract Arabic dramatic adaptations of Sophocles arrived in the Middle East with the advent of modern European theater (Peled, Pormann); unlike early Arabic reception of Greek philosophy (Leaman), few classicists have studied these dramatists’ engagement with Greek tragedy. The strategies Tawfiq al-Hakim used in his "Oedipus the King" (first performed 1949, edition: 1973), the seminal Arabic adaptation of Sophocles' "Oedipus Tyrannus" (OT), offer a window onto Sophoclean reception in Asia (Carlson, El-Enany, Hutchins, Seleem). In his introduction, al-Hakim argues that the success of his remodeling of OT rests upon his identity as an “Easterner” and Muslim, who can understand “the Greek spirit of tragedy.” Because the pivotal role of his Jocasta has been largely overlooked, however, some have doubted the dramatist’s achievement in mediating between Greek tragedy and his Eastern milieu (Mahfouz). Comparing al-Hakim's characterization of Jocasta with those of his main intertexts (Sophocles, Seneca) in three scenes – her initial appearance onstage, her speeches about religion, and her suicide – shows that he not only foregrounds Jocasta, but also modifies his predecessors’ skeptical character into a loving, devout mother largely following Islamic female norms. Through Islamizing her into a foil to Oedipus, al-Hakim redeems Jocasta and thereby does successfully adapt OT to his Arabic milieu.
al-Hakim, Al-Malik Odīb (1973)
Carlson, “Negotiating Theatrical Modernism in the Arab World,” Theatre Journal (2013)
El-Enany, “Tawfīq Al-Ḥakīm and the West,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2000)
Hutchins, “The Theology of Tawfīq Al-Ḥakīm,” The Muslim World (1988)
Leaman, “Islamic Philosophy” in Oxford Bibliographies: Islamic Studies (2009)
Mahfouz, “The Arab Oedipus,” Modern Drama (2012)
Peled, “Creative Translation,” Journal of Arabic Literature (1979)
Pormann, “The Arab ‘Cultural Awakening (Nahda)’,” IJCT (2006)
Seleem, The Interface of Religious and Political Conflict in Egyptian Theatre (2013).
Seneca, Oedipus, Leo, ed. (1878-9)
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