• Matthew Chovanec deposited Voices on Trial in Al-Maqāmāt Al-Aswāniyyah on Humanities Commons 4 months ago

    Al-Maqāmāt Al-Aswāniyyah (1970) are a collection of modern maqāmāt featuring a cast of characters from Cairo’s literary scene in the late 1960s. Written by the Egyptian lawyer and author ʻAbbās al-Aswānī (1926-1978), they were a casual and contemporary iteration of the genre, depicting everything from nightlife to Nasserism. They were so modern, in fact, that they were even adapted as a radio serial for Ṣawt Al-ʿArab. But despite these maqāmāt’s stylistic distance from their belletrist predecessors, and without recourse to a stereotypical use of the Egyptian dialect, al-Aswānī performs a satisfying linguistic satire worthy of the genre. Pushing back against common folk-linguistic understandings of the carnivalesque, this article looks to new work in linguistics and narratology as a way to explain how al-Aswānī’s casual, radio-friendly Maqāmāt still honor the genre’s tradition of performing multi-tiered parody, social satire, and metaliterary irony.