Commentary and Text Organization in al-Jāḥiẓ’s Book of Animals

Vittorio Klostermann Verlag

English Summary

Based on an examination of the surviving manuscripts, this article examines how Mamluk- and Ottoman-era copyists and marginal commentators played a role determining how readers would understand the textual organization of al-Jāḥiẓ’s long and rhetorically complex Kitāb al-Ḥayawān (Book of Animals).  Copyists rubricated and enlarged certain phrases to make them appear as section headings or chapter headings, while commentators added topic headings in the margins.  As a result, different manuscripts interpret the structure of the text in different ways, perhaps revealing different assumptions about what is core purpose and genre was.  The article also introduces two unpublished marginal commentaries on this classic text, authored by well-known Ottoman figures.



  • C. Lechtermann
  • M. Stock

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1-2, pp. 101-132