The Play of Reasons

The Sacred and the Profane in Salman Rushdie’s Fiction

by Youssef Yacoubi (Author)
©2012 Monographs XIII, 230 Pages
Series: Postcolonial Studies, Volume 14


The Play of Reasons argues that Salman Rushdie’s eclectic and hybridized work can be situated within an Islamic genealogy of theological and literary traditions. Rushdie’s prose is difficult to conceive as unitary in meaning precisely because it operates according to a polymorphous Islamic literary and theological register, while also being divided by the Greek, Abrahamic, and Indian dimensions. There is a parallax when Rushdie is viewed from within Islamic traditions, creating interest in a certain postcolonial saturation of Islamic literary traces, theological, and political anxieties; closures and ruptures of the sacred and the profane. Rushdie’s writing is neither essentially Islamic or Indian, nor essentially Western or Greek, but to read him, in terms of an Islamic tradition, is an intervention in what the author calls «Diasporic criticism.» Rushdie’s work construed as «a kind of philosophy-in-literature» foregrounds an engagement with a number of Muslim «masters of suspicion» (classical and modern), whose literary and philosophical ideas have been deeply immersed in the limits of tradition. In the final analysis the author argues that Rushdie’s prose demonstrates the extent to which literature is committed to a critical reconceptualization of history, truth, meaning, and value systems based in the possibilities of risk, constructive doubt, and contingency.


XIII, 230
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2012 (June)
Islamic traditions Diasporic criticism history meaning contingency
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XVI, 230 pp.

Biographical notes

Youssef Yacoubi (Author)

Youssef Yacoubi is Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Ohio State University teaching courses in postcolonial and Arab-American studies, modern Arabic literature, and critical theory. He was Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Bard College and at Hofstra University in New York. He was the Lisa Proctor Fellow in Comparative Literature and a lecturer at Princeton University in Near Eastern Studies. He was also Visiting Lecturer at Rutgers University. He earned his PhD from the University of Nottingham in critical theory.


Title: The Play of Reasons