Provide ample evidence about the publication of

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, provide ample evidence about the publication of Daninos’s dramatic piece before al-Naqqash’s performance of The Miser : ‘Now it is clear from the texts published here that al-Naqqash had a predecessor further afield in the far West of the Ottoman Empire in Algeria, Abraham Daninos’. 44 The play was printed in Algiers in lithograph and then sent to a member of the Soci´et´e asiatique in Paris. Daninos’s play was first mentioned in the Journal asiatique on 17 August 1848 by Jules Mohl: Avant de quitter la po´esie arabe, je dois mentionner une curiosit´e litt´eraire; c’est un drame Arabe en vers, pr´ec´ed´e de l’expos´e de la situation, de la liste des personnages, enfin un drame en r`egle, au moyen duquel l’auteur, Mr Daninos, `a Alger, parait vouloir essayer de donner aux Arabes le goˆut du spectacle et de la po´esie dramatique. 45 Moreh’s review presents Daninos as a pioneer of the field of drama in the Arab world, and the play is seen as an attempt to familiarize the Arabs with the making of spectacle and dramatic poetry. However, the fact that Daninos is the father of modern Arabic drama does not mean that the Arabs were previously unfamiliar with the art of performance. That is, Moreh’s review is biased by the eurocentric claim to mastery of the genre. Daninos’s play was also mentioned in 1850 in the annual review of literature in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenl¨andischen Gesellschaft: The newest of the newest in the grove of the Arabic muses is at present a play in verse by Mr Daninos, interpreter at the Civil Court of Justice in Algiers, entitled ‘The
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158 amine Theatre in the Arab World Tranquilities of Mind of those filled with Desire and the Pain of Lovers,’ of course an Afro-European hybrid. You could hardly call it a Semitic half-breed. In any case it is only slightly related to Bottcher’s Aeltesten B ¨ uhnendichtungen [‘Oldest Dramatic Poems’]. 46 Thus Daninos’s play is considered the first modern Arabic play to have been written with recourse to the Other’s medium. It is an ‘Afro-European hybrid’, for its constructs belong to two different cultures. The play, then, can be considered a product of the third space, the hybridized space of the colony. Its extended dialogues in verse are frequently unacknowledged quotations from Alf Layla wa-Layla ( The Thousand and One Nights ) and from ka f al-asra:r (‘the revelation of secrets’) by Izz Al-Din B.Abd al-Salam al- Maqdissi (d. 678 / 1279 )’. 47 The play has a local field of reference besides its recourse to an alien medium. Daninos’ play has a prologue, a list of characters and stage directions. Its prologue contains a brief synopsis of the whole drama. ‘This may have been read by a figure called al-was-sa:f ’ (‘the praiser of God’). 48 This technique, which is typical of the Arabic tradition of shadow play, proves that Daninos’s textual practice oscillated between Self and Other.
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  • Fall '14
  • Drama, Arab World, amine Theatre

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