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|Title||The Different Translations of Ibn ^ufayl’s |ayy Bin Yaq&[n and their Transfer to Europe|
The motif of the castaway living and philosophising for years on a desert island is one which has captured the imagination of various writers in many cultures and literatures and over a very long period of time. Literary historians and critics in the West are most familiar with the famous example of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and the many versions and variations it spawned over the following three centuries, including in recent years works by Michel Tournier, J. M. Coetzee, William Golding and Derek Walcott. However, little attention has been paid to some of the antecedents of Defoe’s great novel, especially those from other cultures like the remarkable |ayy Bin Yaq&[n (Alive, Son of Awake) by the 12th century Arab Muslim philosopher and physician Muhammad Ibn ^ufayl who was living in Spain. This text is Ibn Tufayl’s only surviving work apart from a few writings on medicine and astronomy. It summarises his own ideas and also encapsulates much of the philosophical and scientific thinking of his age in a direct, plain style. Due to its profound influence on European thought and philosophy, Ibn ^ufayl’s |ayy Bin Yaq&[n was translated into no less than eight languages (Hebrew, Latin, Dutch, English, French, Russian, German, and Spanish) in addition to Persian and the other major languages of the Islamic world. This paper is an attempt to provide a critical account of some of the aforementioned translations, especially the English and Latin versions and their transfer to Europe. Accordingly, this study seeks to prove that English readers of the eighteenth century had access to four English translations of the |ayy Bin Yaq&[n, the fact which lends credence to the view of some critics that the Medieval story of |ayy Bin Yaq&[n was a model and a possible source for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), just as the real-life castaway Alexander Selkirk was.
|Published in||The 1st international conference on applied linguistics and literature|
|Publisher||The Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine|
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