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The Adventures of Ibn Battuta - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Review: The Adventures of Ibn Battuta Described as the Marco Polo of the Muslim world, Ibn Battuta is renowned for his travels during the Middle Ages that brought him as far as China. His journeys, which began during his pilgrimage to Mecca was an interesting event because it offered a view of the world from an Islamic perspective…
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Download file to see previous pages A primary source of the book was the rihla or a book of travels, originally commissioned by Sultan Abu ‘Inan, the Marinid ruler of Morocco back in 1356. This book of travels was a collaboration between Ibn Battuta, himself, and Ibn Juzayy, an Andalusian literary scholar. Dunn got hold of several versions and translations of this rihla the most important of which were those in French copies since numerous manuscripts from Morocco was transferred to France after the French occupation of Algeria. Dunn also cited an extensive body of literature on Ibn Battuta’s travels in encyclopedia entries, popular summaries and critical commentaries. Hence, the book is a chronicle of Ibn Battuta’s adventures based on the traveler’s own writings and Dunn’s own observations and interpretations of his sources. The Traveler and His Travels What is interesting about Dunn’s approach to his account on Ibn Battuta’s exploits is that he did not merely translate his writings. Instead, he integrated a dimension in the book that explored the traveler’s personality. ...
Ibn Battuta was a subject coequal with his travels in the way the book explored its concerns. In this regard, a good portion of the book was devoted to his life, his upbringing and perspectives. Dunn achieved this objective not through a historical investigation of his life in Morocco before his travels but on the autobiographical dimension of his own rihla. According to Dunn, in order to understand and, hence, depict, Ibn Battuta’s character, his aspirations, his social attitudes and prejudices, his personal relations with other people, and, finally, the way he “fits” into the fourteenth-century Muslim society and culture, he had to rely on Ibn Battuta’s own writings (6). This is the reason why Dunn often felt compelled to emphasize the traveler’s reaction and observation to people, events and places, including his appreciation, criticisms and annoyances. Fidelity As the reader begins the Journey with Dunn, he will be immediately arrested by the fact that there is very little difference in the way the narrative was presented from that of the primary source. This is especially the case for those who have read the rihla as narrated by Ibn Battuta and his young literary collaborator or its modern copies. The facts and points are the same except that most of which were told in Dunn’s words. One is actually tempted to say that the author was merely paraphrasing. At this stage, there were very few referencing made to the author’s sources. This is the reason why some scholars might conclude, during the early stages of the book, that there is really nothing new provided, just a mere rehash of what was already written. This impression will change, however, as the narrative picked up its pace and Dunn was able to assert his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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