Along the frontiers of religion, language and war: Baba Ounus Saldin’s Syair Faid al-Abad

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Frontiers are a productive site - geographically and metaphorically - for considering world literature and world history. Situated at the edge, the margin, the boundary, frontiers are zones of material and cultural contact and exchange, sites of risk and opportunity. In this chapter I consider a poem which, I will suggest, invites us to think of the idea of frontiers in a variety of ways related to religion, language, literature and world events. More specifically, it offers a way to consider the frontiers of Southeast Asian Islam, of the Malay language and its poetic genres, and of colonial wars and expansion. The poem, titled Syair Faid al-Abad, was written in Malay by Baba Ounus Saldin in early twentieth-century Ceylon. How might the Syair be classified as vernacular, Islamic and positioned along a frontier?.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to World Literature and World History
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317414650
ISBN (Print)9781138921658
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, May Hawas; individual chapters, the contributors.


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