Gianluca Saitta

Homoeroticism in Mamluk Arabic Prose. An analysis of the Fictional History of the Chapter of the Young Man in Ibn 􀛉ab􀆯b al-􀛉alab􀆯’s Nas􀆯m al-􀧢ab􀆗 (The Breeze of the East Wind)

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In his work entitled Nasim al-saba (The Breeze of the East Wind), Ibn Habib al-Halabi (d. 1377) dedicates a chapter to the description of a young man (gulam). The interest of the author in the homoerotic theme confirms the prominent place this topic occupies in premodern Arabic literature. This chapter is characterized by the presence of two parts which differ from a stylistic point of view. The incipit and the closing part present a fictional story which looks like a maqama, while the central part is entirely descriptive. From the analysis of the fictional story, this study aims to show the central role that nature occupies in this part and which seems to constitute the main subject throughout the work. Moreover, this study aims to expose the heterogeneous nature of the Nasim al-saba which often characterizes the anthologies of the Mamluk period, reflecting the literary vivacity of that time


  • premodern Arabic literature
  • Maqama
  • homoeroticism
  • nature


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