This paper employs and describes an experimental methodology of viewing medieval Arabic authors through the lens of stage actor performance theory. In particular, it argues that semi-canonical writings, such as al-Ṭabarī’s History of the Prophets and Kings, become the “script” that later authors, such as Ibn al-Athīr and Ibn Kathīr “perform” as actors. This methodology is novel, and argues that by examining the changes authors made to narratives presented in earlier Arabic texts, we can draw important conclusions about the authors’ opinions of the relative importance of narrative elements, the authors’ literary-narrative strategies for endowing memories with meaning, and establish each author's "super-objective" (his primary thematic or narrative concerns).
History, Historiography, Performance Theory, Memory, Mnemohistory
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Hagler, Aaron M.
"The Shapers of Memory: The Theatrics of Islamic Historiography,"
Mathal: Vol. 5
, Article 3.