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Lives of the Great LanguagesArabic and Latin in the Medieval Mediterranean$
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Karla Mallette

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226795904

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226796239.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

“I Became a Fable”

“I Became a Fable”

(p.113) [Chapter 9] “I Became a Fable”
Lives of the Great Languages

Karla Mallette

University of Chicago Press

The commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics by Ibn Rushd (Averroes) commentary was translated into Latin in 1256 by Hermannus Alemannus, and that commentary saw a fairly wide circulation in western Europe during the late Middle Ages. Earlier Arabic translations of the Poetics used the word hikaya to translate Aristotle’s technical term for the plot of Greek drama, mythos. Ibn Rushd chose a different Arabic word to analyze plot – khurafa, fable – in part because hikaya had taken on a new meaning in the century between the first Arabic translation of the Poetics and his own commentary. This chapter follows the fates of the translation of the word “plot” through Ibn Rushd’s commentary into Hermannus’s Latin translation – where the word becomes fabula – and into the poetry of Petrarch. It argues that Petrarch’s use of the Italian word favola is informed in part by Hermannus’s Latin translation of Ibn Rushd’s commentary, and that Petrarch meant his favola to absorb some of the connotations conveyed by the Hermannus’s use of the Latin fabula.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Poetics, Ibn Rushd, Averroes, Hermannus Alemannus, Petrarch, translation, fabula

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