The Kaliph Hakim and History as a Cyclical Happening

Nerval's concept of time enabled him to turn back the pages of history; to view past events not in a linear frame of reference, but rather in cyclical or mythological terms. During his stay in Egypt (1843) he was inspired to write the story of Kaliph Hakim, the founder of the Druse religion. Though Nerval drew heavily on such works as Silvestre de Sacy's Mémoire sur la dynastie des assassins et sur l'origine de leur nom (1809) and the Dictionnaire oriental, as well as many other volumes dealing with the founder of the Druse sect, his interpretation of Kaliph Hakim's life transposed facts. An analysis of Nerval's views concerning Kaliph Hakim's comportment and ideations makes up the bulk of the article. (BLK)

Knapp, Bettina L
Volume 1976-1977 Fall-Winter; 5(1-2): 79-93.