“The 'Romance' Kharjas in perspective”

by Richard Hitchcock [IAIS, Exeter]


SUMMARY: In the sixteen years since the first International Symposium on the muwashshaha and the kharja held in Exeter in 1988, attitudes towards the latter have consolidated. Abu-Haidar, Federico Corriente, Galmés de Fuentes, Alan Jones and Otto Zwartjes have produced major works; other scholars such as Benabu, Hanlon, Ulf Haxen, Arie Schippers, Gregor Schoeler, Wulstan and Yahalom have cast light on differing aspects, but the trend of recent scholarship, in so far as one may been determined, has been toward the muwashshaha rather than its kharja [with a particular focus perhaps on the musical nature of the former]. This development is not unwelcome, but one may observe that kharja scholarship to a large extent predates that of the muwashshaha. In this paper, an attempt will be made to explain the rise of what might be called the kharja phenomenon, and to put forward reasons why, if the Romance kharjas did not exist, then they would have had to have been invented. Attention will be paid to the relationship of the available text to end product, to the interpretative methods adopted and to the nature of the influence they wielded.