Research

2013-2014
Amin Maalouf Day

On Friday October 25, 2013, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) celebrated the Amin Maalouf Day. The event, which was held in the Conference Hall at the USEK Campus, was initiated by the Higher Center for Research (HCR), in response to the desire to dedicate a day every year for an iconic figure in the contemporary Lebanese culture to honor this person and highlight his/her contribution to culture.

Following the HCR opening remarks, Professor Hoda Nehme, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, used the book titled Les Identités meurtrières to show how Maalouf initiated a new humanism in favor of a modernity that is capable of holding all the cultural wealth of the world.

Professor Mireille Issa, founder and Director of the Center for Latin Studies at the USEK Faculty of Letters, presented an overview of Maalouf’s literary works with the view to showing that, even though a homogenizing reading of Amin Maalouf’s novels is not easy, one still finds that the protagonists – though many – each epitomize an aspect of their creator’s personality. Hassan Zayyat of Leo Africanus, Mani the illuminated of Jardins de lumière, Omar Khayyam of Samarcande, Ossyane in Les Échelles du Levant, are, among others, historic characters with an indisputable reputation, hoisted by key figures after undergoing the twists of imagination. With the multiplicity of spaces essentially allegorized by the two East-West and North-South axes, and with the inclusion of a wide temporality centuries, Professor Issa asserted that Maalouf seems to embrace the world.

Maya Khaled-Haddad, author of a thesis on Maalouf and currently a teacher at the Lebanese University, focused on the question of the language mix, especially the recurring bilingualism in Maalouf's novels, using a linguistic and socio-cultural approach to shed a light on the complexity and importance of this issue.

In the same context, Ms. Assaad Najoie, teacher and researcher in the field of linguistics and lexicography and winner of the 2003 International Association of French Studies (IFSA) Award for her article on Amin Maalouf, showed that the Lebanese dialect in the Le Rocher de Tanios is the product of a creative mind and expression, mixing the concrete with the abstract and generating a fluctuating language. This, Ms. Assad asserted, is followed by a mediation process leading to language change: the writer turns out to be a mutant creator of a set of lexical or syntactic metaphors, the result of a perfect harmony between source and target language.

Najib Abdo closed the series of interventions with a reflection on Les Désorientés. This novel may be the story of Adam; while it surely tells the story of its author, it also – and especially – tells our stories. We might ask ourselves how to live with the inherent guilt towards the Lebanese who went beyond the limits of their country, language and culture, as they need to a mixture of all that to understand what they are. How do we assume a lost identity and belonging because of our multiculturalism? The novel gives an answer to this conflict of ‘The Disoriented’, that of dual citizenship and – why not? - the definition of human beings as citizens of the world.

Hoda Nehmé – Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities – USEK
Les identités meurtrières : vers un nouvel humanisme du XXIe siècle
 
Maya Khaled – Teacher of general and applied linguistics
Lebanese University – Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences
Le métissage linguistique dans les romans d’Amin MAALOUF
 
Mireille Issa – Director of the Latin Studies Center – USEK
Amin Maalouf : quand le créateur et la créature font un
  
Najoie Assaad
« Le Rocher de Tanios : une osmose langagière »
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