IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1718: Sensual Pleasure in the Islamic World

Thursday 4 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Pernilla Myrne, Institutionen för språk och litteraturer, Göteborgs Universitet
Paper 1718-a'Dans l'acte charnel, il y a aussi une aumône', dit le Prophète: La représentation du plaisir dans la littérature arabe médiévale
(Language: Français)
Danilo Marino, Università degli Studi di Napoli 'L'Orientale' / Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Semitic
Paper 1718-bLove Is a Baffling Ailment: Medieval Arabic Pleasure Texts and the European Art of Love
(Language: English)
Jennifer Wynne Hellwarth, Department of English, Allegheny College, Pennsylvania
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Other, Medicine, Sexuality
Abstract

Paper -a:
Contrairement à la civilisation chrétienne, le monde arabo-musulman a accordé une grande importance à la satisfaction des besoins corporels. La littérature arabe a évoqué les plaisirs des courts califales et des élites élégantes et raffinées, mais de mœurs douteuses. Cependant, en dépit des sanctions, la sexualité, licite ou illicite, hétérosexuelle ou homosexuelle, l’ivresse et les drogues demeuraient des sujets très pratiqués par les écrivains arabes dès l’âge classique. Dans cette communication, on propose une vue d’ensemble des représentations, à la fois sérieuses et plaisantes, des plaisirs de la chair dans la littérature arabe, avec une attention particulière à l’époque ‘postclassique’ (1250-1517).

Paper -b:
In Sex and Society in Islam, B.F. Musallam observes that medieval European Christians were ‘obsessed’ with two aspects of Muslim phenomenon: power and pleasure. They were, he argues, specifically fascinated by their sexual ethics and practices. In this paper, I look at two medieval Arabic texts that address the art, practice, and management of sexual desire and pleasure. The one text, Ibn Hazm’s 11th-century The Ring of the Dove, is a treatise on the art and practice of Arab love. The other, Ibn al-Jazzar’s highly influential 10th-century‘Zad al-musafir (Provisions for the Traveller and Nourishment for the Sedentary), is a medical compendium that, among other things, articulates the importance of the senses and psyche in arousing pleasure and the significance of pleasure to procreation. It also suggests remedies for various sexual diseases that impede pleasure. Taken together, these texts provide a valuable backdrop for examining a work like Capellanus’ 12th century Art of Courtly Love and the ways in which European notions of the science and art of love and sex both draw on, and are in tension with, elements found in these (and many other) Arabic sources.