al-Yāzijī, Nāṣīf (1800–1871) By Junge, Christian
Nāṣīf al-Yāzijī was a Lebanese writer and philologist who contributed to the Nahḍa (‘awakening’), an intellectual current in the long nineteenth century for the renewal of Arab culture. Tremendously erudite in Arabic language and literature, he excelled in many different fields as a poet, philologist, and teacher, but mostly earned his wide reputation from his literary collection Majmaʿ al-baḥrayn (The Confluence of the Two Seas), published in 1856 in Beirut. In this eloquent work he both masters and exceeds the classical narrative and language of the maqāma and thereby expresses a new cultural self-confidence of Christian Arabs in the nineteenth century. While al-Yāzijī’s work has often been disdained by later scholars as merely conservative and traditional, it implants a subcutaneous newness whose innovative potential has yet to be fully explored.