Travel literature of Moroccan pilgrims during the 11-12th/17-18th centuries : thematic and artistic study
Previous research has mostly focused on various literary genres such as poetry, short story and novels. In contrast to the great concern shown for these genres, little attention has been given to an interesting genre of literature that is worth appreciation and deserves examination and care, this is ' Travel Literature '. Therefore, I preferred to approach this under explored and vibrant field, which is concerned with al-Rihlät compiled by the pilgrims known as al-Rihlät al-Hijäziyya, during the 11-12th/17-18th centuries, and to the Rihlätof the Moroccans, specifically of Far Morocco, (al-Maghrib al Aq). The target texts that are analysed are from the following Rihlät of Abü Madyan, al-cAmiri, al-, Ayni, al `Ayyäshi, al-Hashtüki, al-Ijudayki, Ibn cAbd al-Saläm, Ibn Abi Mahli, Ibn al-Tayyib, Ibn Malib, Ibn Näsir, al-Ishägi, al-Muräbit, al-Qädiri, al-Räfidi, al-Shawi, al-Yüsi and al-Zabddi. This study is divided into two major parts. In the first part, which constitutes the first half of the focus of this study, the poetry composed by Moroccan travellers is analysed and investigated in terms of two main methods. The first is a descriptive thematic study. The descriptive method is represented in the analysis of the poetic texts according to its poetic themes, such as religious verse, brotherly poems, estrangement, longing, yearning and complaint, description, elegy and other themes. In addition to this, there is an outline of the significant role of Süfis with special emphasis on al-Zäwiya in all aspects of life, and more specifically academic activities as well as literary life for the period in which the travellers lived. The second is an analytical artistic study. The poetry is analysed and discussed according to the following artistic features: poem structure, content (meanings and ideas), imagery, the language (words and syntax), emotion and experience. The second part, which is considered the second half of the focus of this study, is prose material, where the same method is applied. It is classified according to two main sections. In the first the prose material is analysed according to thematic features. These are religious, geographical, academic, political and security, commerce, social, literary and humorous content. In the second, the prose is examined in terms of its artistic features. These are Rihla structure, the language (style and vocabulary) and the content. In addition, this study provides a summary of the most significant motives and aims, which led, or encouraged travellers to journey from one place to another. It includes a brief summary of the biographies of the most famous Arab travellers of non-Moroccan origin and their travels from the pre-Islamic period until the 10th/15th century, as well as details about the Moroccan travellers, including their biographies and Rihlätin the centuries prior to the main period studied. In addition, there is a section concentrating on the main period studied within this thesis, and due to this, more details are given about Moroccan travellers and their Rihlät recorded in the 11th and 12th/18th and 19th centuries. In addition to this, there is a brief summary of the political and educational aspects and al-Hajj as a main motive for travel. The final chapter is the conclusion and epilogue. It outlines the findings of the research, and suggests further areas of study for future research in the light of the results obtained.