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Kalima Reading Club Organises Panel Discussion On La Rochefoucauld’s ‘Reflections: Or Sentences And Moral Maxims’

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s (DCT Abu Dhabi) Kalima Reading Club organised a panel discussion on ‘Reflections: Or Sentences and Moral Maxims’ by Francois de La Rochefoucauld, which was attended by a number of writers, intellectuals and DCT Abu Dhabi employees.

The session featured researcher and writer Sheikha Al-Jabri, poet Salem Bou Jamhour, writer and storyteller Bassima Younes, novelist Ali Abu Alreesh, and poet Mira Al-Qasim, examining La Rochefoucauld’s 17th century text from each of their perspectives. They also discussed the author’s personality and the circumstances surrounding him at the time he wrote the book.

The session kicked off with a speech by Saeed Hamdan Al Tunaiji, Director of the Publishing Department at DCT Abu Dhabi, outlining the most important activities of Kalima Reading Club this year as well as the preparations for its upcoming activities in 2019.

Al Tunaji said, “The book gained great popularity, with La Rochefoucauld’s illusion-free vision introduced in brief and brilliant maxims allowing his contemporaries to gain greater insight into themselves. He was a man who chose to take advantage of his failures and isolation to present illuminating ideas about the human condition. His revelations might seem at first pessimistic and overwhelmed in blackness, but are in fact written with a great deal of candour, digging deep into the whims and fancies of human beings to find out the actual motives behind their actions. His insights and observations are sharp, stripped off all additions; crystallised and distilled by the author into their most concise forms. This ‘signature’ style of La Rochefoucauld had declined in popularity in previous centuries, but now this type of writing is being redeemed and recognised once again.”

He continued, “La Rochefoucauld’s ‘signatures’ are the result of 20 years of writing and are considered an integrated and complex vision of humanity. These ‘signatures’ are not arbitrary as they deal with perfectly handled subjects in which the author encounters issues such as egoism, contentment, pride, vanity or moderation.”

The session was accompanied by a live performance of the artist Aisha Zaabi painting a recreation of a portrait of La Rochefoucauld originally done by one of his contemporaries.

‘Reflections: Or Sentences and Moral Maxims’ is one of the publications of DCT Abu Dhabi’s “Kalima” project, and has been translated from French into Arabic by Mohammed Ali Al-Yousfi.

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