A Comparative Literary Criticism of Avicenna's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and Tolkien's The Hobbit

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Faculty of Art & Architecture Department of dramatic literature Tarbiat Modares University Tehran

2 Department of Art and Architecture Faculty of Animation and Cinema Tarbiat Modares University Tehran Iran

Abstract

With the surge in translation of Islamic scientific works in the 12-13 century AD by the Europeans, a large number of these translations became available in Europe when Muslims were at the height of their scientific glory. Avicenna was a well-known Iranian scholar whose works in medicine and philosophy were well received in Europe. Avicenna's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan is an ancient dramatic work that was translated into French in 1889. It is possible that the English translation of Ibn Tufail's book of the same name and his direct reference to Avicenna's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan led to the first contact of Tolkien with Avicenna's book as inspiration for the writing of his novels. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most fascinating contemporary fantasy fictions that enjoys immense popularity. This study used a descriptive-analytical method, touching upon the American-style comparative literature, to demonstrate that Tolkien's The Hobbit (2006) was influenced by Avicenna's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan irrespective of difference in their content, and examined this influence.

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