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“Elsewhere Lies Its Meaning”: The Vagaries of Kalīla and Dimna’s Reception

In: Poetica
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  • 1 Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland
  • | 2 Barnard College, AMEC Department, New York, NY, USA
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Kalīla and Dimna was translated from Pahlavi into Arabic in the 8th century AD by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ, and it became an influential text in numerous literary cultures. Copyists in the Arabic manuscript tradition acted as coauthors, changing the text in ways both large and small. The modern scholarly tradition tends to see Kalīla and Dimna as part of a Fürstenspiegel genre or as an example of animal fables. What these categorizations overlook is the variegated medieval reception of the text, which was more multifaceted than is generally appreciated. The unruliness of the text’s

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