The Sphinx Takes Manhattan, or the Significance of "A Man From the Yaman" in Ameen Rihani's Arabian Peak and Desert
Keywords:Great Sphinx, Egyptomania, Giza, Literary Montage, imperial history, Arab American Literature, Ameen Rihani, Arab American Relations, Arabian Peak and Desert, Immigration, Syrian American, Orientalism, Lebanese, Travel, travel narrative, United States, Orientalist, Syria, Eurocentric histories, Lebanon, literary criticism, Egypt, visual studies
In 1989, a replica of the Great Sphinx of Giza was photographed passing in front of the Statue of Liberty. This image recalls neglected imperial histories and challenges global models of center and periphery. A similar encounter occurs at the beginning of Ameen Rihani’s work Arabian Peak and Desert: Travels in Al-Yaman, where the early twentieth century Syrian American scholar writes of a chance meeting with a “man from the Yaman.” Their conversation is brief, yet it colors the travel narrative that follows. In this paper, I read these encounters together to situate moments of “reply” to Orientalist discourses. These encounters simultaneously reproduce and displace Eurocentric histories and epistemologies by creating a space that is both within and outside modern narratives of progress. This paper analyzes the two encounters and proposes montage as a method for reexamining literary and visual texts.
Copyright (c) 2016 Michelle Baroody
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
The content of this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.