Ibn Ḥazm’s Ṭawq al-ḥamāma (The Neck-Ring of the Dove)
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Today, the Ṭawq al-ḥamāma is not only the most famous work of the Andalusian scholar Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456 / 1064), it has become a nearly ubiquitous text: in the Arabic-speaking world it is found on school curricula and is widely read; on a global scale it has been translated into numerous languages; and it has not only sparked much scholarship, but has also inspired modern literary adaptations. It is considered a quintessential guide to the theme of love in Arabic literature. Yet this modern popularity is in stark contrast to its perilous transmission. How can it be that a text so fundamental today could have been transmitted to us on the feeble thread of a single manuscript, now held in Leiden? Its singularity, however, does not mean a lack of interest in the book between its inception and its rediscovery in the nineteenth century. The manuscript bears many traces of former possessors and readers, traces that have hitherto not been analysed. This chapter charts the path of this manuscript in the East, explains how it ended up in Leiden, and shows how it was first edited and popularised in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Bestsellers and masterpieces

The changing medieval canon

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