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Anna Della Subin and Hussein Omar


First as Shadow, Then as Farce: An Evening with Medieval Puppeteer Ibn Daniyal at CUNY in New York

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The thirteenth-century occulist Muhammad Ibn Daniyal, said to have occasionally blinded his patients, is remembered both for his tragic optometry and for his comedic shadow puppet plays. A refugee from Mosul, Ibn Daniyal once entertained Sultans and urchins alike in the streets and salons of medieval Cairo. Perhaps he was better at summoning the shadows than the light. His Tayf al-Khayāl trilogy (“The Shadow Spirit”) is known as the only work of Arabic drama to have survived ...

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Hussein Omar is pursuing a PhD in the political history of modern Egypt at the University of Oxford.


Anna Della Subin is a New York-based writer and a contributing editor at Bidoun magazine.