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Nothing in the realm of linguistics and literature can be written without showing signs of

the previous studies in the field which is under observation. Every text in its purity is

related to other texts written before.It is a very common practice among different writers

of all the times to refer to the studies, they have done before, in their works, and to the

works of other writers as well. In its essence, nothing notable or influential can be written

or composed without calling attention to sub-conscious knowledgeof a writer which is

presented in form of allusions, references and imitation in his/her work.

Showing and presenting arguments with the help of others’ intellect is quite

facilitating and it makes readers to conform to what is written or presented

naturally,because, we are living in the world of logic and reality, where nothing

superficial or exotic canbe everimagined to get accepted, and one cannot make castles in

the air. Thus, intertextual relations among the texts make the work of the authors or

writers quite handy, they, sometimes, intentionally refer to other texts, and other time, it

may occur without prior attention of the authors, in their texts.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

The Forty Rules of Love, a prominent postmodern novel deals with the various

aspects of postmodernism, one of them, among many others is intertextuality: how

texts are interrelated to other texts or the relation of one text to other texts. The

novel, due to its universal love theme and new approaches to make people to

start change in their lives, has remained under consideration for many researchers

and has been explored in many ways. For example, Sethi (2017) analyses that how

spiritualism is attained through the love for humanity in the novel. Dayekh (2016)

studies style of narration and structure of the novel. Furlanetto (2013) studies Rumi

phenomenon between orientalism and cosmopolitanism. Jarar (2017) tries to investigate

that how the novel presents solutions to combat terrorism in the current era. Basically,

The Forty Rules of Lovecalls for love, tolerance, patience and many other tenets that the

human beings should follow in order to lead a happy life.

With the backdrop of the aforementioned previous studies, which have never

investigated and explored The Forty Rules of Love from Intertextual point of view, the

current study has been carried out to explore through the intertextual analysis as how the

story of Rumi and Shams is fabricated by Elif Shafak and what is the historical point of

view about this story.

1.2 Research Question

This study seeks to investigate and explore as to whether the story of Rumi and Shams as

fabricated by Elif Shafak conforms to the historical instances of the story or the novelist

attempts to converge or diverge from the historical truth value of this story.

1.3 Delimitation of the Study

This study is delimited to only those extracts of the novel The Forty Rules of Love where

the story of Rumi and Shams is narrated.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study presents before the readers the real picture of the historical figures of Rumi

and Shams and the sort of relationship, they have had with each other. An Attempt is

made to bring before the readers where the novelist have converged or diverged from the

true historical records of these imminent mystic figures, and the agenda which the writer

wants to propagate through the narration of this story.

1.5 Chapter Division

Chapter Two expounds the review of previous researches done on the novel The Forty

Rules Love to develop theoretical background of the study. It gives the previous

researches on the novel in a nutshell. Chapter Three deals with the selection of the corpus

and research method for this study. It explains research methodology the study is based

on. Chapter Four deals with the presentation and analysis of the corpus, examined. This

chapter presents the true story of the Rumi and Shams, as fabricated by the novelist, Elif

Shafak, the kind of story present in the historical books, through the comparison and

analysis from both the extracts of the novel and historical record. Finally, Chapter Five

shows conclusions upon the results and discussions given in fourth chapter, by providing

answering to the research question raised in the first chapter.

1.6 Key Terms Explained

1.6.1 Intertextuality

Julia Kristeva, the originator of the term, intertextuality, defines in her essay “Word,

Dialogue and Novel”, as “it is a mosaic of quotations, any text is the absorption and

transformation of another. The notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity,

and poetic language is read as at least double”. (Kristeva 85, cited in Moi 37)

Intertextuality is the shaping of a text’s meaning by another text. It is the interconnection

between similar or related works of literature that reflect and influence an audience’s

interpretation of the text.


1.6.2 Text

Kristeva argued against the concept of a text as an isolated entity which operates in a self-

contained manner and states that: “any text is the absorption and transformation of


1.6.3 Intertext

A coherent text that shows a relationship to one or more other texts, where “text” is

understood to mean any type of communicative content, typically forming a connected

piece of work.

1.6.4 Intertextual Relations

There are two types of intertextual relations: horizontal and vertical relations. Horizontal

relations are between primary texts that are more or less explicitly linked, while vertical

relations are between a primary text and other texts of a different type that refer to it.

1.6.5 Representation

Representation in a literary work (or an art work) is the depiction of aspects of social or

cultural life, is representation of what those aspects are like in real life.

1.6.6 Canonical and N0n- Canonical literature

The group of works that represents the best literary works of a given language is called

canonical literature, while non-canonical literature is all those other works that are not

considered to be high literature.




This chapter consists of the review of previous researches and studies related to Elif

Shafak’snovel The Forty Rules of Love. It is demarcated into three main sections: the first

one gives an overview the previous researches and views of the researchers. The second

explores the introduction of intertextuality as a literary theory; while the third one reviews

the works of various theorists and critics who contributed to the establishment

intertextuality as a literary theory.

2.1 Previous Researchers’ View

Dayekh (2016) has studied the style of narration and structure of the novel The Forty

Rules of Love. She says that the novelist has used diverse techniques, mostly post-

modern in order to contribute to the delineation of her vision of the human condition. She

is of the view that the artistic choice of the author – the two embedded narratives and

various techniques adopted in this novel – vividly translates and enriches Shafak’s

thematic concerns and underscores a cry out for a humanistic worldwide unity through

the essential human ingredient - love. She talks on the dialectical relations between the

constituent parts of structural framework of the novel and diversity of techniques used in

the novel to produce desired effects and successful narrative to unfold the mystical truth

of life:

The dialectical relation between the constituent parts of structural framework of the
novel and also shows the diversity of techniques give an ostensible impression of
chaos in order to produce a holistic narrative that succeeds to link together all these
diversified techniques by the embracing web of unlearning, then re-learning not only
to live, but also to love. (Dayekh, 2016)

Dayekh comments on the description of the narrative and the skill of the author to

merge two narratives into single one, creating unity. The first narrative tells the story of

the main character Ella and the sub-narrative unfolds the story of Rumi and Shams of

Tabriz. Both the main and sub narratives are divided into prologue and subsequent small

sections, but she says that it’s not merely a novel embracing another novel but the sense

of intrinsic relationship exist between both sections. The main section of the novel gives

birth to the sub-section which ultimately sharpens Ella’s introspection. The forty rules

given by Shams in the Sweet Blasphemy section are enticement for Ella to know herself,

hence, there is a dialectical relation between both the sections of the novel:

However, it is not just a novel embracing another novel; there is much more a sense of
an intrinsic relationship between both components: the forty rules of love, as rules, are
what generate the sub-narrative “Sweet Blasphemy”, which is, in turn, what sharpens
Ella's awareness and triggers her initiation into self-discovery. The rules are, in fine, a
driving force within the larger scheme, that is, Ella's narrative. Hence, there is some
kind of a dialectical relationship between these main divisions. (Dayekh, 2016)

Dayekh also studies the hybrid diction and time shifts in the novel. Concerning the

hybrid diction in the novel, she says, it rejuvenates the popular culture of the east,

preservation of Non-English culture and existence of it, as well. The use of words like

burqa, fana, hamam, nafs, indicates the beauty of eastern culture. While she also notices

temporal distortion of using nonlinear timeline, she has said that the author has used the

techniques of flashbacks and forward shifts in time, which is one of the literary

techniques to avoid the fatigue of daily routine and dull life scheme. Life is not just a

cycle from past to present and then towards the future, but according to the words of Elif

“the past is interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through

time as if it were a straight line proceeding from past to future”. The destiny has got

dominance over the scheme of events, but this does not mean that one should give up to

live on, rather, one must try to make the life better which is destined to oneself:

Hence, it does not matter what awaits at the end of the path; what matters most is the
track one chooses to tread, the cross one chooses to bear and endure, and the effect
one stamps on one's surrounding long after departure.(Dayekh, 2016: 1719)

Dayekh also talks about the mystical and sceptical aspects of the novel and says

that these aspects of the novel are present at the root of The Forty Rules of Love, which

undermines stereotypical dichotomies and beliefs, and challenges religious fanaticism,

and proposes the unlearning of the taken-for-granted morals, creeds, and inherited

convictions, for relearning the ultimate truth, meaning, and love. Both elements are

inherent in the journeys of development of the main characters of both plots (p. 1721).

Both, Ella and Rumi, breaks free from their old selves that subject to them to conform to

set rules and values of society. Aziz also develops himself during the course of the novel,

when he recounts the events of his life before Ella. Ella is liberated from her old self,

from being a person frightened of the unknown, a person who has evaded confrontations

for the sake of the so-called familial duty of setting the "perfect picture table" imposed by

society, from a person for whom “guilt was [a] middle name, from a person who, in short,

has been “best at letting the days go by, the routine take over, and time run its course,

whose life has been written for her, not by her, and could be summed up by “The Forty

Rules of the Sedentary, Suburban, Earthly Housewife; Ella is emancipated from a life "of

still waters" where each decision is filtered through her marriage, and in which she never

confronted the death of anything, and is transformed into a woman who dared to abandon

it all: her kitchen, her dog, her children, her neighbours, her husband . . . and walk out

into the world where dangerous things happened all the time. This emancipation would

never have happened were it not for her long[ing] for love, and her seeking it. Described

as an invitation, a cry for help, Ella's first email to Aziz symbolizes her embarking on the

journey that irrevocably uproots her from her stagnant self and changes her life forever.

Ella, by the process of unlearning and re-learning, in short, turns to be the guerrilla Ella,

independent, and able to devise her own survival techniques without panicking from

solitude, after she realizes that loneliness and solitude are two different things. Solitude is

better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely (p. 1721).

Jarrar (2017) investigates how Elif’s novel Forty Rules of Love offers a solution

to combat terrorism. He argues that Elif promotes Sufism which is a diverse process, and

based on accepting variance and pluralism, is the key to eliminate the continuing

ideological and religious clashes and controversies. In order to overcome the increasing

hazard and assault of religious extremism, sectarianism, and dogmatism that are the main

causes of terrorism, there is a terrible need to find a way of life which operates on the

basis of inclusion and shuns exclusion (p.43).

Jarrar comments on the necessity of one universal religion which must be

followed by all the human beings not a single dogmatic religion. The novel calls for

attributes such as patience, love, consideration, compassion, tolerance, and many other

which are essential for human beings to lead happy and joyous life. He comments on the

version of Sufism presented in the novel and says: “In this novel, Sufism is not presented

as a theoretical and hypothetic instruction. Instead, it is vigorous, breathing, and

transmitting a placid energy that can obstruct terrorism” (p.43).

While commenting on the similarities between the 13th century and the 21st

century, he observes that both the centuries witnessed cultural misunderstanding,

insecurity, religious conflicts, fear, thus the need for mutual love is stronger than any

other era in the history.

2.2 Intertextuality as Literary Theory

The concept of intertextuality can be traced back to the ancient times when the human

history and the discourses about texts began to record. As a theory it has been defined as a

set of relations which a text has with other texts and discourses belonging to various

fields and cultural domains. Yet the commencement of intertextuality as a critical theory

and an approach to texts was given the formulations by theorists such as Ferdinand de

Saussure, Mikhail Bakhtin and Roland Barthes before the term ‘intertextuality’ was

coined by Julia Kristeva in 1966. The focus is on the path from ‘work’ to ‘text’ and

‘intertext’, both of which ultimately became synonymous, the shifting position of the

reader/interpreter becoming significant in the discipline of literary studies, attempts to

define intertextuality as a critical theory and state its tenets and axioms formulated by the

above mentioned originators of the intertextual theory and thus to discard the fact that

intertextuality had a poststructuralist and postmodern vein at the outset.

Although the term ‘intertextuality’ was coined by Julia Kristeva in 1966, after that

intertextuality as a literary theory is widely used. As Raj (2015) puts it Kristeva’s

contributions to the theory are immense, she not only coined the term but substantially

emphasizes the importance of potential dynamics that exist within the text. The

phenomenon itself dates back, and the theory itself goes back to antiquity when the

human civilization and discourses started to exist. This study reviews intertextuality after

its emergence as a literary theory and practice in the 20th century with the theories of

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), Mikhail M. Bakhtin (1895-1975), Julia Kristeva (b.

1941) and Roland Barthes (1915-1980). The poet-critic T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) will also

be taken as the forerunner of intertextuality with regard to his views presented in his

“Tradition and the Individual Talent” even if they sound semi-intertextual. Eliot defines

the relation between a work and tradition and culture, which is a huge network of texts,

and in which all other texts exit synchronically, made the way for the quasi-intertextual

assumptions that every author has and should have a historical consciousness and no text

exists of its own in the tradition. Intertextuality, in its broader sense, is a poststructuralist,

deconstructionist and postmodernist theory that changed the concept of text, recognizing

it as an intertext owing to the interrelations between texts and texts’ absorptions of other

texts. Another novelty posed by intertextuality is the distinction between work and text. A

work, for the theorists of intertextuality, is a product which is consumed/used and a text is

a process which is produced/generated. Intertextuality is a theory which provides the

reader with unlimited ways of interpreting the texts including literary works because it

takes a work of literature, as it reviews all texts, not as a closed network but as an open

product containing the traces of other texts. In effect, it was Kristeva who first advocated

that there is no discrimination between the literary and non-literary texts. The primary

focus in intertextuality is the interdependence of texts. All texts are intertexts because

they refer to, recover and draw from the pre-existing texts. Any work of art, for Kristeva,

is an intertext which interacts with the other texts, rewrites, transforms or parodies them.

Intertextuality recommends a range of links between a text and other texts obtaining

diverse forms as direct quotation, citation, allusion, reference, collage, imitation, parody,

pastiche, literary conventions, structural parallelism and all kinds of sources either

consciously exploited or unconsciously reflected. By so doing an intertext transforms or

reproduces the texts existing before it.

An intertext has also the power of perverting and reacting against other texts in the

whole discursive field as in the case of the post-colonial discourses. Another maxim

which theorists engaging with intertextuality claim is that the existing knowledge of the

reader who is situated in a certain cultural and historical position is a determinant among

many others in giving the meaning to the text; thus the reading process is an active


In its simple sense, intertextuality is a way of interpreting texts which focuses on

the idea of texts’ borrowing words and concepts from each other. Every author, both

before writing his text and during the writing process, is a reader/observer of the texts

written before his/her text. S/he either borrows from the previous or current texts and

discourses in the network through allusions, impressions, references, citations, quotations

and connections or is affected by the other texts in some ways. Therefore, a writer’s work

will always have echoes and traces of the other texts to which it refers either directly or

indirectly and either covertly or overtly. It will also have layers of meanings rather than a

solid and stable meaning which is anticipated to be constructed through the writer’s

vision. Intertextuality asserts that when a text is read in the light of the text(s) to which it

refers or from which it has traces, all the assumptions and implications surrounding those

referred texts will shape the critic’s interpretation of the text in question. It is because a

network of other texts gives the reader, critic and interpreter with the contexts of possible

meanings and therefore it wouldn’t be misleading to say that his or her meditation on the

meaning of the text at hand is shaped by the quotations from, absorptions and insertions

in and transformation of another text or discourse. It is significant to cite that

intertextuality cannot be restricted only to the discussions of literary arts. It provides an

area of study of influences, adaptation and appropriation of texts into not only the written

or literary texts but also the other media or non-literary areas. It is also a method for the

analysis of any text constructed in culture and a route to interpretation of any cultural

phenomenon correlated with non-literary arts and the recurrent cultural epoch. All

cultural and artistic productions in such cultural and artistic domains as cinema, painting,

music, architecture, photography, sculpture and popular culture may be interpreted

through their relations to previous works. Therefore, pieces of music, movies, buildings,

paintings and sculptures can be viewed as texts having interdisciplinary connections with

each other. One may think that intertextuality can be exploited to interpret and analyse

artistic productions with regard to their relations to and borrowings from each other. This

may be attributable to two features of intertextuality: 1. it is an interdisciplinary theory


and 2. It foregrounds the complex interrelations and intersections between literature and

other art disciplines as well as one art discipline and other. Intertextuality considers not

only the artist or author’s borrowing, transformation, rewriting or absorption of a

preceding text/s but also the reader’s reference to a text or other texts which he read and

knew already while he is reading the text in question. The generating of the meanings of a

text is realized not only in the act of production but also in the act of reception. As a post-

structuralist approach to text and the reader, intertextuality searches for neither a fixed

meaning lying outside the text nor, as the structuralists do, a meaning which is there to be

discovered or behind the structure of the text (the deep meaning); rather it believes that

interpretation is a matter of reader and that text and reader interact to produce an

unlimited flow of meanings. Therefore, intertextuality poses text as a “growing, evolving,

never-ending process” (Irwin, 2004: 232). Intertextuality is a theory offering new ways of

thinking and new strategies for understanding and interpreting texts. In his Intertextuality

– a book providing the reader, especially for laymen, with a glossary of terminology of

intertextuality– Graham Allen returning to the history of ‘intertextuality’ gives its current

layers of meanings and implications. He defines intertextuality as “an attempt to

understand literature and culture in general” (2000: 7) and writes that it “foregrounds

notions of relationality, interconnectedness and interdependence in modern cultural life”

(2000: 5). Allen emphasizes a significant aspect of intertextuality, which has already been

shown in the previous paragraph: “The systems, codes and traditions of other art forms

and of culture in general are also crucial to the meaning of a work of literature” (2000: 1).

This indicates that intertextuality foregrounds associations between a literary text and the

vast cultural network. Since modern theories view text as something lacking in any kind

of independent meaning, “the act of reading […] plunges us into a network of textual

relations. To interpret a text, to discover its meaning, or meanings, is to trace those


relations. Reading thus becomes a process of moving between texts” (Allen, 2000: 1).

Therefore, intertextual analysis requires that the reader/interpreter seek the intertextual

echoes in a text in order to get the text’s meaning(s). A text takes its meaning not from

the author’s creation but from its relation to other texts; meaning becomes a thing that is

there in the network of textual links and can be searched between a text and all the other

texts, to which the text refers and relates or cite. However, the reader/interpreter cannot

acquire a stable meaning of a text because the meaning is produced in the space(s)

between the texts and because the meaning is always flexible and elusive. Seen in this

light, “every text is an intertext” (Leitch, 1983: 59); an intertext is “a text between other

texts” (Plett, 1991:5). The new notion of text comprises the social and cultural texts as

Hans-Peter Mai observes: “This ‘text’ is no longer the object with which textual criticism

used to deal. Actually it is no object at all; it is, as a way of writing (ecriture), a

productive (and subversive) process” (1991: 37). Intertextuality, thus, as a post-

structuralist theory, not only challenged the traditional approaches to text regarding it as

an object to be deciphered and decoded, but also disrupted the notions of a fixed meaning

residing in the text and of the probability of an objective interpretation. By focusing on

the contextualization of the text, poststructuralist and postmodern disciplines claim or

hold the opinion that no work of art is authentic and no work of art emerges from

nothingness/void. In this respect, the convictions that in the cultural context all verbal or

nonverbal texts (literary texts, texts of history, philosophy, mass media texts, texts of

popular culture, music, films, advertisements, television programs, visual images and so

forth) relate with one another, no text is free from the other texts in culture, no artist can

produce his/her work individually and independent of the culture in which s/he generates

his/her work and the meaning is thus a floating one are all poststructuralist and

postmodernist attitudes. And this constitutes the postmodern mode of intertextuality.


2.3 Theorists and Critics on Intertextuality

There has been vast discussion on the term intertextuality and various critics and theorists

advocated their views on the term in their works either partially like T.S. Eliot or laid a

succinct discussion on the term.

2.3.1 Kristeva and Her Views on Intertextuality

It was Julia Kristeva, who coined the term “Intertextuality” the progenitor of

intertextuality theory. The literary critic and feminist psychoanalyst, Kristeva used the

term in her seminal essays on Bakhtin and intertextuality, in both “Word, Dialogue and

Novel” in 1966 and “The Bounded Text” in 1967. These multi-dimensional essays threw

light on the fact that “Kristevan concept of intertextuality” had its roots from her own

reading of Bakhtinian dialogism “as an open-ended play between the text of the subject

and the text of the addressee” (Moi, 1986: 34). Working on Bakhtin’s dialogism and

carnivalence, Kristeva, not only introduces him to French readers but also maintained

him, a starting point in her study. Batkhin is of the view that a text is a representation of

various discourses ranges from everyday conversation to social, historical and literary

discourses. The terms, dialogism and heteroglossia named by Kristeva as Intertextuality.

Kristeva fairly credits Bakhtin as the foremost critic to view text not only as a structure

enclosed in itself, but also a structure produced by or in relation with other structures.

In “Word, Dialogue, and Novel” she maintains that:

What allows a dynamic dimension to structuralism is his [Bakhtin’s] conception of the

‘literary word’ as an intersection of textual surfaces rather than a point ( a fixed
meaning) as a dialogue among several writings: that of the writer, the addressee (or
the character) and the contemporary or earlier cultural context (Kristeva, 1980: 65;
1986: 36).

Kristeva also elaborates Bakhtin’s dialogism. She conceives of texts as

functioning along two axes. She notes: “The word’s status is thus defined horizontally

(the word in the text belongs to both writing subject and addressee) as well as vertically

(the word in the text is oriented towards an anterior or synchronic literary corpus)”

(Kristeva, 1980: 66; 1986: 36-37). While the horizontal axis contains the connection

between the text and the reader, the vertical axis decides a host of complex relations of

the text with the other texts. “What coheres these axes is the framework of pre-existing

codes that governs and shapes every text and every reading act” (Childs and Fowler,

2006: 121).

Taking the term intertextuality to mean that texts intersect and therefore can be

analyzed together is not wrong. Yet Kristeva made additions to the term; by means of

intertextuality she meant something much more interesting. In her Revolution in Poetic

Language (1941) Kristeva presents an analysis of language, which helps understand

intertextuality. By the term ‘intertextuality’ she means “the way in which one signifying

practice is transposed into another”. For her, the “signifying practice is never simple and

unified. It is the result of multiple origins or drives, and hence it does not produce a

simple uniform meaning” (McAfee, 2004: 26). Kristeva defines and explains the term

‘intertextuality’ along the term ‘transposition’. She also criticizes those taking

intertextuality for a fashionable label for source-influence studies, outlining the drawback

of the use of intertextuality – the misunderstanding caused by the term – in the following

section of her work; however, as we all know intertextuality means transformation.

The term inter-textuality denotes this transposition of one (or several) sign system(s)
into another; but since this term has often been understood in the banal sense of “study
of sources,” we prefer the term transposition because it specifies that the passage from
one signifying system to another demands a new articulation of the thetic – of
enunciative and denotative positionality. If one grants that every signifying practice is
a field of transpositions of various signifying systems (an inter-textuality), one then
understands that its “place” of enunciation and its denoted “object” are never single,
complete, and identical to themselves, but always plural, shattered, capable of being
tabulated. In this way polysemy [multiple levels or kinds of meaning] can also be seen
as the result of a semiotic polyvalence – an adherence to different sign systems
(Kristeva 1984: 59–60).

In Kristeva, intertextuality relates to the dialogic nature of all types of language

whether it’s literary or non-literary. The literary text, for Kristeva, is no longer viewed as

a unique and autonomous entity but as the product of a number of pre-existent codes,

previous discourses and texts. In this sense every word in a text is intertextual and

therefore, it must be read not only in terms of a meaning presumed to locate in the text,

but also in terms of the relations between the text and other cultural discourses existing

outside the text. As it can be viewed, in Kristeva intertextuality refers to the concepts of

signification and of meaning in language. Therefore, even the intertextual relations are

not deliberately intended by an author, there can still be found intertextual links in and

outside the text owing to the dialogic nature of language and the emergence of meaning in

a text’s relation with other texts. Kristeva’s theory of intertextuality does not make a

boundary between a literary text and non-literary texts generated within the same culture,

which refers to a postmodern attitude to text. Structuralist semiotics, argues that, as Allen

puts it, the texts, whether they be literary or non-literary such as historical documents or

travel writings, texts coming from the oral cultural tradition such as myths, or any cultural

text can be scientifically analyzed because “at any one moment signifiers exist and

function within a synchronic system which provides determinable signifieds for those

signifier” (2000: 3132). This is what Kristeva attacked: The objectivity of the language.

She never distinguishes between the study of language and subjectivity. Because she

considers the language as personal utterance, as the priority of the speaker or writer.

Language cannot be objective because it relies on the subjectivity of the speaker/writer.

No type of language can be objective due to the assumptions and knowledge a writer puts

in his/her text and the reader brings to a text. Various readers will finally bring different

experiences to a text in the same way as writers write their texts putting and giving

different shades to their own experiences, assumptions, insights and so on. Noelle

McAfee succinctly gives what Kristeva has done:

Where other linguists and philosophers have studied language as a separate, static
entity, Kristeva has insisted that the study of language is inseparable from the study of
the speaking being. Instead of studying language per se, she studies the signifying
process, the process by which the speaking being discharges its energy and affects
into its symbolic mode of signification. Her study of the signifying practice rests on
psychoanalytic theory, drawing a developmental picture of the speaking being, who
first begins to signify well before she learns words. First significations occur when the
child is still immersed in the semiotic chora, the psychic space in which its early
energy and drives are oriented and expressed. Even when the child matures into an
adult, this semiotic dimension will continue to make itself felt (2004: 27).

It can be said that, there is no single or identical reader for Kristeva and no

identical reading, ultimately, a maxim which is quite eminent in the intertextuality theory.

2.3.2 T. S. Eliot’s Quasi-Intertextual Ideas in Tradition and the

Individual Talent

The concept of intertextuality became an influential practice in the discipline of literary

studies a few decades after the publication of T. S. Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual

Talent” in The Egoist in 1919, the notion may nevertheless be deemed as to have existed

in this famous poet-critic’s influential essay. Although the general trend towards Eliot’s

insights presented in his essay is in the direction of combining them with modernism, his

ideas sound partly intertextual. Due to the common conception of intertextuality – that

every text is related to other texts and these relations are essential as well as constructive

for the interpretation of the text’s meaning(s) – it may be thought that Eliot’s work

highlighting the synchronicity of all texts and seeing the intertext as a synonym for

tradition and culture offered, in its own time, new insights about the text and the network

of texts. The essay reads:

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his
appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You
cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the
dead […] what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens
simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments

from an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the
new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before
the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole
existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportion
values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted;and this is conformity
between the old and the new. Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of
European, of English literature will not find it preposterous that the past should be
altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past. And the poet who
is aware of this will be aware of great difficulties and responsibilities (Eliot, 2015).

Eliot also observes that each work “exists within the tradition from which it takes

shape and which it, in turn, redefines”. He regards tradition as “something to which the

poet must be ‘faithful’ and something that he or she actively makes; novelty emerges out

of being steeped in tradition” (Eliot, 2015). A link can be drawn/made between

intertextuality’s recognition of text as a cultural artefact as well as its approach to text in

its contextual aspect and that of Eliot which accepts text as an artifice based on tradition

and history and as a production of the culture in which it is generated and therefore, as a

part of that culture. According to Eliot an artist has and should have a historical

consciousness while producing his/her work of art because s/he is not a separate entity but

rather a ‘being’ culturally engrossed in the tradition. Seen from this angle, no author and

no text are unique, which is at the same time a moto of intertextuality. Moreover, all texts

in a network, for both Eliot and intertextuality, are concurrent. The two insights are same

in the sense that every text is more or less related to every other text and that the artist

does not create any unique art because his work will always have the effects, traces and

impressions of culture or ‘tradition’ in Eliot’s term.Eliot’s debate on the need for the

artist’s “depersonalization” also seems to coincide with the intertextual ideas on the

nonexistence and invisibility of the author. Eliot claims that “the progress of an artist is a

continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality. There remains to define this

process of depersonalization and its relation to the sense of tradition” (Eliot, 2005). In

Eliot’s work, there is actually nothing incompatible with intertextuality when its meaning

is considered. Intertextuality is clarified as “a text’s dependence on prior words, concepts,


connotations, codes, conventions, unconscious practices, and texts. Every text is an

intertext that borrows, intentionally or not, from the tremendous archive of previous

culture” (Leitch, 2001: 21). Eliot’s notion of the forging of the new work into the old

one(s), and vice versa plus his perception of the role of the artist in the process of artistic

production seem to be closely related to the conception of intertext in intertextuality.

There may also be observed, in Eliot, some clues of intertextual reading practices, during

which all knowable intertextual relations are at work for the production of the meaning(s)

of a text. Eliot gives a reading which is similar to an intertextual way of reading and

deconstructs all close readings because no single reading gives the meaning of a text; the

meaning heavily relies on the intertextual relations constructed in the processes of both

the production and reception of a text. By means of the synchronic way of reading offered

by intertextuality, the meaning of a text have not an absolute but a relative; that is,

whenever a new text appears in the network of texts, the meanings of both the new text

and the old ones change. And this is similar to Eliot’s opinion of reading the previous

works through the new ones and reading the new works through the old ones. This

actually offers the internal structure of a text with the results that every text refers to one

another and the meaning is unstable, which provides the immensity of intertextual

readings. Eliot, not only, in his own poetry, and long before intertextuality emerged as a

critical approach in literary studies, provided the reader with the various layers of

meaning in the multi-faceted and kaleidoscopic nature of his poetry that he had acquired

by through technique of collage, his use of especially mythical and classical allusions and

of fragmentations and his constructing parallels between his own text and other texts. So

it would not be wrong to say that Eliot himself produced his work through the practices of

intertextual ideas a few decades prior to, when intertextuality took its place as a discipline

in the literary studies.


2.3.3 Saussure and His Linguistic Theory on Intertextuality

The whole of modern literary theory is most of the time viewed as having devised by

Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure’s structuralism and semiotics (Allen, 2000: 8; Plett,

1991: 8) and therefore it is not wrong to say intertextuality took its origins from the

concepts formulated by Saussure. Chronologically, Saussure comes first considering his

work Course in General Linguistics, however, it would not be wrong to put Eliot first on

this plane, because, his works were introduced at the time when Intertextuality as a

literary theory was not yet established, in 1919, under the title Tradition and Individual

Talent. Eliot’s conception of taking text in its cultural context offer more cultural

interpretation, while Saussure’s work deals with the semantic and linguistic aspects of

intertextuality and his theories recognizing language as system of phonology, semantics,

and syntax were applied to literature much later. He viewed language as an intricate web

of signs, a structured system of linguistic elements, grammatical rules and constructions,

and established the bases for his theory structuralism. This theory challenged the long-

rooted misconceptions that a piece of literature expresses its author mind and personality

and reading it, will offer its readers an objective reality and an essential truth about

human life.

Structuralism presents structural analysis of literary text, to reach its deeper

meaning and stresses the structural element of a text rather than historical or biological

context. Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics, the father of semiotics and

structuralism has always been considered providing the major assumptions of language,

to which he called langue, and individual use of language which he calls parole. In a

compare and contrast manner, his insight on language and speech has always been cited

by many that it foreshadows intertextuality. Saussure, in Course in General Linguistics, a

posthumously published work, regards language as “a self-contained whole and a


principle of classification”, but human speech as “a social product” which is “many-sided

and heterogeneous” (Saussure, 1966: 9). Langue is a structured system of language based

on certain rules; parole, specific acts of speech or utterance which are grounded on those

pre-existing rules. It takes its birth from the system of language. Saussure’s originality

lies in his distinction between ‘langue’ and ‘parole’. While langue is a phenomenon or a

process that is social, communal, objective, and functional and that has rules, parole is

individual, personal, subjective, and non-functional; it is the application of rules already

established in language. Creating a new terminology, Saussure suggests that sign refers to

the whole construct; signifier suggests the sound image and signified, the concept. What

signifier, signified and sign designate may be displayed in the following diagram:

Signifier > the word or sound-image / the form of the word constructed by the letters ‘c,

a” and ‘r’, and the sounds given by them, e.g. “car”

Signified > the mental concept/image of “car”

Sign > Actual/real object: car

2.3.4 Bakhtin’s Relation with Intertextual Theories

To consider Mikhail M. Bakhtin as the originator of intertextual ideas would be as

problematic as to credit Saussure, because, the ideas of both the theorists are not directly

related to the notion of intertextuality, but, their ideas made the way for later theorists to

develop the different aspects of intertextual theory. However, Bakhtin’s theories of

dialogism and heteroglossia lies at the core of Kristeva’s intertextuality theory. He did not

use the term intertextuality directly but the term is used in reference to his works. Citing

Bakhtin, it’s the dialogic aspect of language which “foregrounds class, ideological and

other conflicts, divisions and hierarchies within society” (Allen, 2000: 21). Bakhtin

emphasizes the notion of ‘otherness’ in words. Because the words we choose in both

speech and writing have an otherness about them and because they hails to specific

speech genres, it is substantial for the words to bear the traces of previous utterances.

Bakhtin’s consistence on ‘otherness’ is related with the theory of intertextuality because

for him, the meaning of every word or utterance is developed through the speaker’s

relation to other people, other people’s words and expressions and the specific culture

experienced in a specific time and place. This takes us to his dialogism which is directly

related to intertextuality. Bakhtin invites attention to the dialogic nature of language,

referring to Dostoyevski’s novels in his Problems of Dostoyevski’s Poetics:

Thus, at the very beginning of the novel the leading voices in the great dialogue have
already begun to sound. These voices are not self-enclosed or deaf to one another.
They hear each other constantly, call back and forth to each other, and are reflected in
one another (especially in the micro dialogues). And outside this dialogue of
“conflicting truths” not a single essential act is realized, nor did a single essential
think of the major characters (1984: 47).

Bakhtin viewed language with its social dimension. His emphasis was on the

second dimension of language, which Saussure had defined as parole, the individual

utterance. Terry Eagleton argues that “Bakhtin shifted attention from the abstract system

of langue to the concrete utterances of individuals in particular social contexts” and that

“language was seen as inherently ‘dialogic’: it could be grasped only in terms of its

inevitable orientation towards another” (2008: 101). In Bakhtin’s study of language, the

main focus is the addressivity of the word and utterance. As he observes, “[a]

characteristic feature of the letter is an acute awareness of the interlocutor, the addressee

to whom it is directed. The letter, like a rejoinder in a dialogue, is addressed to a specific

person, and it takes into account the other’s possible reactions, the other’s possible reply”

(Bakhtin, 1984: 97). So, all utterances are “responses to previous utterances and are

addressed to specific addressees” (Allen, 2000: 21). Bakhtin figures out the non-

originality of the utterance in his Speech Genres and Other Late Essays as such:

The speaker is not the biblical Adam, dealing […] with […] unnamed objects, giving
them names for the first time […] In reality […] any utterance, in addition to its own
theme, always responds […] in one form or another to others’ utterances that precede
it. The speaker is not Adam, and therefore the subject of his speech itself inevitably
becomes the arena where his opinions meet those of his partners […] or other
viewpoints, world views, trends, theories, and so forth [in the sphere of cultural
communication). World views, trends, viewpoints, and opinions always have verbal
expressions. All this is others’ speech (in personal or impersonal form), and cannot
but be reflected in the utterance. The utterance is addressed not only to its object, but
also the others’ speech about it (1986: 93-94).

2.3.5 Barthes and Intertextuality

Barthes is a prominent figure in the intertextual theory. It was Barthes who brought

transition from structuralism to post-structuralism and carried structuralism and semiotics

to a cultural arena. Inspecting the limitations of structuralism, he analyzed the text from a

cultural viewpoint and looked language as a phenomenon restricted to social institutions

and codes. In his both “Theory of the Text” and “From Work to Text” (1971) he draws a

clear distinction between ‘work’ in the traditional sense and ‘text’ in the post-structural

sense. The demarcation between work and text can be found in the first of Barthes’s

seven propositions which he put in “From Work to Text”:

The distinction is this: the work is a piece of substance, occupying a part of the space
of books (in a library for example), the text is a methodological field. […] the one is
displayed, the other demonstrated; likewise, the work can be viewed (in bookshops, in
catalogues, in exam syllabuses), the text is a phenomenon of demonstration, speaks
according to certain rules (or against certain rules); the work can be held in the hand,
the text is held in language, only survives in the movement of a discourse (or rather, it
is Text for the very reason that it knows itself as text); the text is not the
decomposition of the work, it is the work that is the imaginary tail of the Text
(Barthes in Leitch, 2001: 1471).

For Barthes, a text is “the phenomenal surface of the literary work” (1981: 32). “A

text is the material inscription of a work. It is that which gives a work permanence,

repeatability and thus readability” (Allen, 2000: 61). Barthes asserts that the text is “the

fabric of words which make up the work and which are arranged in such a way as to

impose a meaning which is stable and as far as possible unique” (1981: 32) and he posits


The notion of text implies that the written message is articulated like the sign: on one
side the signifier (the materiality of the letters and of their connection into words,
sentences, paragraphs, chapters), and on the other side the signified, a meaning which
is at once original, univocal, and definitive, determined by the correctness of the signs
which carry it. The classical sign is a sealed unit, whose closure arrests meaning,
prevents it from trembling or becoming double, or wandering. The same goes for the
classical text: it closes the work, chains it to its letters, rivets it to its signified (1981:

Barthes in his S/Z makes division between the texts into two as readerly (lisible) and

writerly (scriptible). Terry Eagleton redefines Barthesian perception of text as follows:

The most desiring texts for criticism are not those which can be read, but those which
are ‘writable’ (scriptible) – texts which motivate the critic to sever them up, transpose
them into different discourses, produce his or her semi-arbitrary play of meaning
across the work itself. […] The ‘writable’ text is usually a modernist one, has no
determinative meaning, no settled signified, but is plural and diffusive, an
inexhaustible tissue or galaxy of signifiers, a seamless weave of codes and pieces of
codes, through which the critic may cut his own path. There are no beginnings and no
ends, no sequences which cannot be reversed, no hierarchy of textual ‘levels’ to make
you aware what is more or less significant. All literary texts are weaved out of other
literary texts, not in the conventional sense that they bear the traces of ‘influence’ but
in the more radical sense that every word, phrase or segment is a reworking of other
writings which are present before or surround the individual work. There is no such
thing as literary ‘originality’, no such thing as the ‘first’ literary work: all literature is
‘intertextual’ (2008: 119).

The readerly text is associated with the realistic novel of the 19th century which

was designed towards representation and through which reading process the reader tries

to take out the meaning which is assumed to be given by the author by means of his/her

narration; and therefore, the reader is positioned as a passive receiver (Allen, 2000, p. 79).

With the writeable text “the reader or critic shifts from the role of consumer to that of

producer” (Eagleton, 2008:119).

It is, therefore, obvious that the basis of intertextual theory can be found in the

works of these theorists, Saussure’s linguistic theory in general and his theory of sign,

signifier, and signified, in particular, Bakhtin’s theories of heteroglossia, dialogism, and

polyphony, Kristeva’s coinage of the term intertextuality, her efforts to take Saussure’s

theories to the real application on literature, and her recognition of intertextuality as

“transposition”, and Barthes’ theory of readerly and writerly of text and “the death of the

author”. With the theories and ideas of these conceptual mentors of modern theorists,

there have been inevitable shifts in the discipline of literary studies. Starting from the

time of the emergence of the intertextual theories with its new tenets about text and

intertext, the comprehension of literature and literary works began to be transferred

radically as well.



This chapter is consist of three main headings: the first one explains the research design;

the second deals with the selection and delimitation of the corpus, and the third one

discusses the theoretical framework i.e. under one of the tenets of new historicism which

advocates that all forms of history are biased and in order to know the real truth one has

to explore the contemporary or other material dealing with the same topic you ae

searching, to grasp authentic knowledge, that the study uses and to interpret the selected

corpus from a new historical point of view.

3.1 Research Design

The present research is analytical and qualitative in nature. It has first been carried out to

describe the view of the new historicist’s prospective of history, and what are the ways

they suggest for knowing true facts about an historical event or incident. The framework

which is being utilized for this is study is very efficient for the analysis of a text like The

Forty Rules of Love in which there is more room for historical application. The Forty

Rules of Love explores the nature of the love between Rumi and Shams; famous

historical figures for mystical love. But the present research is intended to know about the

convergence or divergence made by Elif Shafak in the narration of the historical events

related to Rumi and Shams.

3.2 Corpus Selection and Delimitation

This study is delimited to the analysis of only those extracts from the novel, where

various events from the story of Rumi and Shams are narrated.

3.3 Theoretical Framework

Theoretical framework is based on New Historicism. New Historicism is a literary theory

based on the idea that literature should be studied and interpreted keeping in view both

the history of the author and of critic. Based on the literary criticism of Stephen

Greenblatt and influenced by the philosophy of Michel Foucault, New Historicism

acknowledges not only that a work of literature/art is affected by its author's times and

circumstances, but that the critic's response to that work is also influenced by his

environmental conditions, convictions, and prejudices. A New Historicist looks at

literature in a broader historical context, exploring both on how the writer's times

influenced the work and how the work reflects the writer's times, in turn recognizing that

current cultural contexts shape that critic's conclusions.

The New Historicist also acknowledges that his examination of literature is

infected by his own culture and environment. New Historicism, then, underlines the

impermanency of literary criticism. Current literary criticism is affected by and discloses

the beliefs/doctrines of our times in the same way that literature reflects and is reflected

by its own historical contexts. New Historicism confesses and agree with the idea that, as

times change, so will our understanding of great literature.

New Historicism has been one of the most influential literary theories since the

early 1980s, and it tries to understand a literary work by reading non-literary works of

that era. Stephen Greenblatt, English Professor at Harvard University, was the leading

figure of this new movement. It was a kind of reaction against traditional approaches.

New historicists do not study the literary work separately from other non-literary texts.

On the contrary, they established a bridge between literary andnon-literary texts and

forms so as to judge the literary work as a product of specific political, cultural and social

contexts (Leitch 2001, p. 27). In other words, new historicist’s basic purpose is to figure

out the literary work within its own historical context. Therefore, a simultaneous study of

literary work and its historical context is essential in order to figure out the literary work.

According to Peter Barry it is essential to read both literary and non-literary texts of the

same era in order to make a new historicist criticism (2002, p. 172). History books,

chronicles, newspapers, letters or any other historical records are extremely significant to

understand the age in which literary works were written. Because of this reliance of new

historicist criticism on the texts, both literary and non-literary, Peter Barry claims that

new historicism is influenced by Derrida’s deconstruction theory which claims that there

is nothing outside the text (2002, p. 175). This same technique is going to be applied in

this study to know whether Elif has converged or diverged to the real historical version of

the story of Rumi and Shams, or stucked to the same version as there in non-literary texts,

under the supervision of new historicism. New historicists employ any kind of printed

historical material like legal documents of courts, parliaments or churches, diaries, letters

or newspapers in their analysis of a literary work. By doing so, they try to show how the

literary work was influenced by the political, cultural, religious or social context. Peter

Barry defines new historicism as a theory which is “based on the parallel reading of

literary and non-literary texts, usually of the same historical period” (2002, p. 172) and

states the idea that new historicism is influenced by Derrida‟s deconstruction theory as

new historicists also believe that there is nothing outside the text (Barry, 2002, p. 175). It

is an acknowledged idea that, we come to know about a lot of historical events as regards

our past through texts (Yerli, 2017).

New Historicism emerged as an alternative approach to textual interpretation,

Cultural Poetics—often called the New Historicism in the United States of America and

the Cultural Materialism in the Great Britain—suggests that all history is subjective and

cannot be objective, because people’s prejudices and biases affect and manipulate their

interpretation of the past. Thus, history can never present before us the truth or a

completely exact picture of past events (Bressler, 2003: 181). In some ways the New

Historicism and the Cultural Materialism are bind together, thus they have always been

put alongside each other in anthologies and critical books (Brannigan, 1998: 19-20). To a

new historicist or cultural materialist critic, history is not objective, ample to explain and

expound a literary text. For them, the purpose of the study is not the text and its context,

not literature and its history, but rather the literature in history. They argue that literature

does have rigorous effects on history, or vice versa (Brannigan, 1998: 3).

The New Historicism emerged mainly in reaction to the New Criticism and it is a

historical approach. It is literary criticism and literary theory based on the principle that a

literary work should be regarded as a product of the time, place, and circumstances of its

composition rather than as an isolated creation. It has its roots in a reaction to the ―New

Criticism of formal analysis of works of literature. Therefore, the New Criticism is known

today as the ―old historicism. In this approach, history serves as or presents a

background to literature. The text is primarily important; the historical background of the

text is only secondarily important. There are some basic differences between the new and

the old historicism. Peter Barry clearly explains them as such:

-The practice of giving equal weighting ‘to literary and non-literary material’ is
the first and major difference between the new and the old historicism.
-A second important difference between old and new historicisms is […] that
new historicism is indeed a historicist rather than a historical movement. (1995:

The American branch of Cultural Poetics is more often called as the New

Historicism. Stephen Greenblatt, the founder of the branch, whose book Renaissance Self-

Fashioning: from More to Shakespeare (1980) is generally regarded as its beginning,

thinks that one’s culture presents both texts and critics. The New Historicists believe that

they cannot ignore public and private cultural influences/effect. Less openly political than

its British counterpart, New Historicism goes on to be refined and redefined by many

practitioners, such as Clifford James Geertz, Catherine Gallagher, Jonathan Dollimore

and Louis Montrose.

The New Historicism is a method heavily relying on both, the parallel reading of

literary and non-literary texts, of the same historical period. The American critic Louis

Montrose defines it as ―the textuality of history, the historicity of texts (Barry, 1995:

172), which means the New Historicism refuses to separate literary texts from non-

literary texts. The New Historicists acknowledge all texts, whether they are literary or

non-literary, as cultural artefacts. Thus, from the prospective of a New Historicist, it is

necessary to understand the culture and the society that assisted the author produce the


The New Historicism is a method of critical interpretation which privileges

power relations as the most important context for texts of all kinds (Brannigan, 1998: 6).

The New Historicists acknowledge the difference between primary and secondary

sources. That is to say, the challenge to rebuild the past on the basis of primary source

material is deconstructed by the New Historicism demystifying its textuality (Öztürk,

2003: 2).

Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield used the term cultural materialism in 1985

as the subtitle of their edited collection of essays Political Shakespeare (Barry, 1995:

182). Two critics have ascendancy over literary studies in 1950s Britain, Raymond

Williams and F. R. Leavis. Both Leavis and Williams were the pioneers of the

professionalized discipline of literary studies as we know it today. For Williams, for


example, literature was not the highest expression of human nature. Actually it was a

changing social practice (Brannigan, 1998: 38-39).




4.1 Plot Overview

The Forty Rules of Love is a novel by Turkish novelist Elif Shafak. Often considered the

most read female novelist in Turkey, Shafak amalgamates Eastern and Western cultures

in her stories of the novels of women and minorities. The Forty Rules of Love combines a

contemporary storyline with a narrative set in the thirteenth century.

The present time story is set in Massachusetts. Ella Rubinstein is a forty-year-old

suburban wife and mother of three. Her husband is unfaithful and her life is routine. After

twenty years of marriage, she abandons her family and the life she has been living and

files for divorce. She tells her daughter, who has just decided to marry, that love is

fleeting and does not last for long. Ella takes a job as a reader for a literary agent and is

drawn to an unknown European author named Aziz Zahara when she is assigned to read

his novel, Sweet Blasphemy. When the novel speaks of love exactly the way she had to

her daughter, it is almost as if the book had been written with her in mind. This begins her

quest for, among other things, love and spirituality.

An e-mail correspondence begins and the love story of Ella and Aziz unfolds.

Also developed is the story in Sweet Blasphemy, which tells, as a story within a story, a

historical tale of a bond between the thirteenth-century poet Rumi and Sufi mystic Shams.

Aziz is a world traveler and a photographer by trade. He becomes a Sufi as he tries to find

his place of comfort in life. His deep interest in Shams of Tabriz and the poetry of Rumi

inspired him to write Sweet Blasphemy. The e-mails he sends to Ella have a content rich

with romance and spirituality. Through Aziz’s words, Ella learns to believe that there are

things she is unable to control and needs to accept in order to find her own comfortable

self-image. He helps her move past the judgmental view of herself she has been

controlled by.

The main character of Sweet Blasphemy is Shams of Tabriz. When he was young,

he had visions. Receiving no understanding or support from his parents, he eventually

leaves home to search for God. On his journey into the world, he visits shrines, temples,

and monasteries. He spends time meditating with hermits and among heretics. He dances

with shamans. He sees miracles and tragedies among people from all walks of life and of

all faiths. He assembles a list of his experiences, referring to it as “The Basic Principles of

the Itinerant Mystics of Islam,” made up of universal principles that together form “The

Forty Rules of the Religion of Love,” attainable only through love.

Shams prays to God to give him a wise companion to whom, he can pass on what

he has learnt or the wisdom he has. In the course of the events, the novel discloses, Shams

at least.

4.2 Elif Shafak’s Fabrication of the Story and its Historical Version

The main focus of the researcher is to bring before the readers the story of the Rumi and

Shams of Tabrizi and to look for the changes made by the novelist while narrating the

story. The friendship shared by Rumi and Shams or the bond of spiritual love established

and developed by both these mystics was incomprehensible to the people of Konya.

It all started when Shams receives visions and hears voices that the other people

around him were unable to see and listen. He talks to God and God responds to him. H

sees and conceives all the mysteries and secrets of the upper and lower worlds. While in

the continuation of his visions, he forgets about the very basics of being a human and

permeates into God with such dissolution that he cares for nothing neither for food nor for

water and goes on under the spell of visions for a couple of days. Nothing of the sort

scares him, but he does not mention it before the other people, because human beings

tend to disparage what they cannot comprehend. He sees his guardian angel when he is

ten and tells his father about it, but his father neglects his idea on the basis that all of this

is mere imagination and it is better for Shams to forget about all this, because it scares the

neighbor’s children and they have complained about Shams’ strange tactics before he tells

his father about the visions. His father is the first person who misjudges his visions and

regards it as a mess of a mind. His father tells him that he is no more different than his

parents and every child takes after his father and mother and so is he. Shams elaborates

his aim of life to his father and tells him that he is a duckling who has been raised by

hens, he is not a domestic bird who is destined to spend its whole life in a chicken coop,

because the water that scares people rejuvenates him. His home is ocean and he wants to

take a free flight into the nothingness. He asks his father that if you can comply to my

endeavors come with me, if not stay at home and stop interfering in his world.

When unable to make his parents understood his perspective of looking onto

things he leaves his home and roams about different cities, countries, and throughout the

world. He has been so inconsistent for his stays in places that he never sleeps in any place

more than once, never eats in the same bowl in which once he has eaten, when hungry he

earns money by interpreting dreams and he observes different faces in this endeavor. He

wanders everywhere around the world and takes every sort of roads from popular trade

routes to forgotten tracks, from the coasts of the Black Sea to the cities of Persia, from the

vast steppes of Central Asia to the sand dunes of Arabia, he passes through thick forests,

flat grasslands, and deserts; sojourns at caravansaries and hostels; consults with the

learned men in age-old libraries; listens to tutors teaching little children in maktabs;

discusses tafsir and logic with students in madrassas; visits temples, monasteries, and

shrines; meditates with hermits in their caves; performs zikr with dervishes; fasts with

sages and dines with heretics; dances with shamans under the full moon; come to know

people of all faiths, ages, and professions; and witnesses misfortunes and miracles alike.

He sees poverty-stricken villages, fields blackened by fire, and plundered towns where

the rivers ran red and there were no men left alive above the age of ten. He sees the worst

and the best in humanity. Nothing surprises him anymore.

After going through all these experiences and insights, he compiles a list that

cannot be found before in the whole world and names it The Basics Principle of the

Itinerant Mystics of Islam, and these principles are universal, dependable, and invariable

as laws of nature for him, together they constitute The Forty Rules of the Religion of Love

and which can be attained through love and love only. It takes him a number of years to

finish working on the rules all are forty of them. And when he finishes compiling these

rules he longs for a companion to whom he could hand over all these rules of mystic love;

as he receives visions about his death. He prays to Allah for a true companion, in the

meanwhile, he gets the direction or the path he should go to find his equal companion. He

is ordered to go to Baghdad where he will find the master who will point him in the right


Since I was a boy, I had received visions and heard voices. I always talked to God,
and He always responded. Some days I ascended all the way up to the seventh sky as
light as a whisper. Then I descended into the deepest pits of the earth, suffused with
the smells of soil, hidden away like a rock buried under mighty oaks and sweet
chestnuts. Every so often I lost my appetite for food and went without eating for days
on end. None of these things scared me, though in time I had learned not to mention
them to others. Human beings tended to disparage what they couldn’t comprehend. I
had learned that firsthand. The first person to misjudge my visions was my father. I
must have been ten years old when I started seeing my guardian angel on a daily basis
and was naïve enough to think that everyone else did as well. One day, while my
father was teaching me how to build a cedar chest so that I could become a carpenter
like him, I told him about my guardian angel. “You have a wild imagination, son,” my
father said dryly. “And you better keep it to yourself. We don’t want to upset the
villagers again.” A few days before, the neighbors had complained about me to my
parents, accusing me of acting strange and scaring their kids. “I don’t understand your
ways, my son. Why can’t you accept that you are no more remarkable than your
parents?” my father asked. “Every child takes after his father and mother. So have
you.” (Shafak, 2010: 38-39)

Similarly, on one occasion, he also talks about how he has come to write his forty rules
of love, his eventual death and his longing for true companion.
It had taken me years to finish working on these rules. All forty of them. And now that
I was done, I knew I was nearing the final stage of my time in this world. Lately, I had
been having many visions in this direction. It wasn’t death that worried me, for I
didn’t see it as an end, but dying without leaving a legacy behind. There were many
words piled up inside my chest, stories waiting to be told. I wanted to hand all this
knowledge to one other person, neither a master nor a disciple. I sought an equal—a
companion. (p. 40)

Almost the similar sort of story is narrated in the autobiography of Shams

translated by William Chittick as Me and Rumi. But, there are certainly other aspects of

the life of Shams which have not been narrated in the novel The Forty Rules of Love by

the novelist Elif Shafak. Shafak has not narrated the role of Shams as a teacher. Shams

had taught in school before he started roaming. And he was a very strict teacher, his

approach towards teaching was totally different from other teachers. He used to treat his

students harshly and in repressing way, he did not show any mercy towards them, he

punished them severely out of kindness and good advice. Although, he was very kind to

children and other people his treatment with his student was kinky and incomprehensible

not only for his students but also for their parents. He used to smash all that kindness

which he had been distinguished feature of his personality while teaching (Me and Rumi,

p. 7). This personality trait of Shams of Tabrizi has not been narrated in the novel by

Shafak, which seems intentional and which is kept hidden just to ward off the misleading

or misinterpretation by ordinary people or people with little knowledge. Shams was a

mystic, whose approach towards anything in life would have been different from other

common people or sometimes for scholarly minds. Therefore, it would be difficult for

ordinary people to decipher his ways into having life, and due to this strategy, some of the

personality features of Shams have been kept concealed, so that, it may not air violence

and terror in society.


Along with this, the other aspect of Shams’ personality has been highlighted in the

book Me and Rumi is refrain from sexual desires and giving up to these physical needs so

as to become spiritually elated. Even when the offer is made to him or where the matter is

of consensual sex, he confined himself away from these sensuous desires whenever he

had been given the opportunity to do so. He regards it as a hindrance to develop

spirituality and to reach God (Me and Rumi, p. 12). Sexual harassment has evolved as one

of the most wearisome negative traits of modern human society, and the media, both

electronic and print, have played their role to propagate sexual ill in the society, where

every fifth woman in the world are being made the victim of sexual harassment and

eventually victim psychological diseases. The ratio of sexual harassment is equal in both

developing and developed countries. As this novel The Forty Rules of Love deals with

the universal theme of love and compassion, hence, Shams is shown as a man of high

moral esteem, who does attempt to uncover the real face of an individual, through his

unusual tactics and ways but never tries to sexually harass or mistreat already depressed

people. The very goal the novelist wants to achieve through writing this novel, i.e. to be

compassionate and generous not judgmental or selfish. The efforts of Shams have made

people with diverse moral evils or wrongdoings purified and helped them to come out of

the fallen ditch, they never supposed to come out, once entered. In the novel, He is shown

as the epitome of selflessness, compassion, generosity, and loving heart who speaks to

those declined people who never expect to be even treated lovingly or conversed (pp. 122,

123, 134). People in the novel are shown very not welcoming towards these morally

fallen people, but Shams shows great interest to pull them out of nowhere to be morally

acceptable in the society. He has such a compassionate attitude towards drinkers, beggars,

people with chronic diseases, and harlots that they cannot help themselves staying there

for very long. This effort of Shams is not only narrated in the novel but he has also

pinpointed it in his autobiography Shams Tabrizi translated by William Chittick. Not only

his students sensed transformation in their selves, widely different from their old selves

but their parents and the people around them also detected those being transformed (pp. 8,

9, 11).

In the course of the novel, the novelist has overlooked religious, social, economic,

ethical, racial, and gender discrimination to tell her readers that harmony could only be

achieved if they strive for one religion; the religion of God which could only be achieved

through seeking, looking for, and showing love to his creatures, and she has propagated

her this agenda through her mouthpiece, Shams Tabrizi. Similar instances could be

detected in the book Me and Rumi.

Shams paused briefly and waited as the master lit an oil lamp. Then he continued.
“One of the rules says, You can study God through everything and everyone in the
universe because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you
are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look
for Him: in the heart of a true lover. There is no one who has lived after seeing Him,
just like there is no one who has died after seeing Him. Whoever finds Him will
remain with Him forever”. (p. 58)

How Shams come to know about Rumi is the story of the visions Shams used to

have. In the novel, it is presented as when Shams was almost near to complete the span of

his life, he prayed to Allah to give him a companion to whom he can hand all his

knowledge, words piled up inside his chest, and stories waiting to be told. In one of the

other visions, he is directed to go to Baghdad where he will find a master who will point

him in the right direction (p. 40). In the book, Me and Rumi, a slightly different story are

told about the vision in which he is directed to head to Anatolia when he pleads with God

to mix him with His companions. Here Shafak conforms to the story told in the book in

the narration of the event in which Shams came to know about Rumi, she has not

converged or diverged from the story written in the book which simply mean that the

novelist wants the same approaches should be adopted by the readers to find a solution to

their problem or when they need any sort of guidance. She wants her readers to consult

God directly for not only authentic information and guidance, but it will also bind them to

a single entity who is omnipresent and almighty and will bring them unity and solidarity

which is the dire need to resolve all types of social, ethnic, and racial differences and

controversies of international dispute could also be eliminated and problems of modern

contemporary society would be resolved with much more confidence and substantiality.

I used to plead with the real presence: “Allow me to mix with and become the
companion of your saints.” In a dream, it was said to me, “I will make you the
companion of one saint.”

I said to myself, “Where is that saint?”

The next night it was said to me, “He’s in Anatolia.” When I finally saw him after a
long time, it was said to me, “It’s still not the time.” Affairs are in pawn to their times.

The encounter of Shams with Rumi is one of the turning points in the

transformation of Rumi’s life, and also this event is exaggerated by some historians to

boost the significance of the story. The story which Shams himself narrated in his

autobiography is somewhat different from that which has been narrated in the novel.

Instead of focusing on the historical record of the first encounter, Shams tended to focus

on the spiritual and fantastical side of their first encounter. Shams has told in the story

that he asked Rumi about Bayazid Bistami that, “Why didn’t Abu Yazeed cling to

following, why didn’t he say, ‘Glory be to You! We have not worshipped You [As You

should be worshipped]?” (p. 210). Rumi did not attempt to answer the question at once,

rather he did not answer at all, and he was immersed in the logic or the wisdom behind

asking this question. It is told in the book that Rumi has well understood the question but

instead of answering he kept silence. While the story narrated by Shafak completely

outlines the historical record of the first encounter. In the novel, the novelist has

attempted to glorify the aura of Shams Tabrizi and minutely narrates the splendor of

Shams when he first met Rumi. She focuses on the grandeur of Shams and the impact he

left on the personality of Rumi. When Shams asked Rumi about the greatness of Sufi

Bistami and why did he say, “Glory to be me, I carry God inside my cloak’?” (p. 156). It

seems that Shafak has tried a bit harder to glorify the personality of Shams, although the

reputation of Rumi was not at any cost lesser than Shams. Here, once again she has tried

to highlight Shams and she has focused more on the historical record of their meeting

than highlighting a spiritual aspect of this meeting.

His black eyes blazing at me sharper than daggers, he stood in the middle of the street
and raised his arms high and wide, as if he wanted to halt not only the procession but
also the flow of time. I felt a jolt run through my body, like a sudden intuition. My
horse got nervous and started to snort loudly, jerking its head up and down. I tried to
calm it, but it got so skittish that I, too, felt nervous. (p.155)

The much told and read event of the story of Shams and Rumi is throwing of

Rumi’s book given to him by his father, the most reputed and precious among them was

the book named Ma’arif by Rumi’s father Baha’ al-Din. And many other noble books

which Rumi had in his library were thrown into the water by Shams. The story narrated

by Lewis (2014) goes as Rumi was sitting near a garden pool with a few books when

Shams arrived and asked, “What’s this?” Rumi replied, “These are called debates, but you

needn’t bother with them.” Shams touched them and threw them in the water. Rumi got

upset at the ruin of these rare and precious books. Shams reached in the water and

retrieved them one by one. Rumi saw that there was no trace of water damage on them.

“What secret is this?” he asked. Shams replied, “This is spiritual inclination and

entrancement, what would you know of it?”

The story which is narrated by Shafak is slightly different than the story found in

historical books by various Persian and English writers. Shafak narrates the story from the

point of view of Kerra, Rumi’s wife that after the arrival of Shams Rumi alienated

himself from her, and except in the nights, Rumi showed up his face. Kerra tells an event,

when she tried to dust the books of Rumi, and how suddenly he appears and asks her to

stay away from them, these books are so much endeared to him that he would not

exchange his father’s books even if someone paid him sacks of gold (p. 167). Rumi

himself laments over the loss of all thing, which he used to have before the arrival of

Shams, but after him, he deprived Rumi of all his loving treasury including his beloved

wife, but he cannot forbid Shams not to do so, because he is so immersed into the

spiritual world introduced to him by Shams that he cannot afford to annoy Shams. So, he

keeps losing all his belonging in return for the company of Shams, because it was Shams

who make him aware of the fact that in order to refine self, first, he needs to unlearn what

he has learnt (p. 192). Kerra tells the event when Shams throws Rumi’s books into the

water, she is in kitchen, she hears strange voices, and when comes out of the kitchen, she

witnesses the craziest scene ever. Shams is throwing all the valuable books into water and

Rumi is standing by him silently, the Rumi who once yelled at her even for dusting the

books. She asks him to stop Shams but he says her calm down, Kerra, I trust in Shams.

This highlights Shafak’s effort to conform to a higher authority when you have observed

and sensed that his knowledge and understanding of the world and the ways into having

life are fruitful and for the harmony of disputes. This world, in which we are living, is

replete with controversies and clashes from the personal level to national and

international importance, to conform to some higher authority or universal approaches

should be adopted by the individual to come in accordance with the pace of nature, even

though at first, they look unusual or bewildered.

“What are you doing?” I asked Shams. “These books have no other copies. They are
very valuable. Why are you throwing them into the water? Have you lost your mind?”

Instead of an answer, Shams cocked his head toward Rumi. “Is that what you think,
too?” he asked.

Rumi pursed his lips and smiled faintly but remained silent.

“Why don’t you say anything?” I yelled at my husband.

At this, Rumi approached me and held my hand tightly. “Calm down, Kerra, please. I
trust in Shams.” (p. 205)

It was Shams, also, who introduced Rumi to Sema, a spiritual dance performed by

Sufis to focus more attentively on divinity. Rumi’s approach to teaching was traditional

as adopted by his late father and which is in accordance to the Sunna of the Holy Prophet;

any act of worship or discipline which the Prophet Mohammad was reported to have

accomplished. So, Shams introduced Rumi to Sema, in order to practice in the mystic

path what he has learnt. Though Sema has forbidden in religious law because it increased

the passion and lust of most people, but not for the Sufis as they do it to seek and love

God (Lewis, 2014).

There is also some clash as when and how Rumi started composing poetry. In the

biography written by Lewis (2014) it is written there that Rumi started writing poetry

after Shams had left him (p. 215), but in the novel it is mentioned that Rumi started

writing poetry after his complete dissolution into the mystic being and after he had

developed himself spiritually, because his poetry was spiritual in nature (p. 183).

In intense absorption, Rumi isolated himself with Shams and abandoned his own

disciples. Their suspicion was the primary factor in Shams’ disappearance. Rumi and

Shams were together in peace for a year or two before the jealous commenced to spread

gossips, asking why Rumi would ignore them for the like of Shams, who was not only

lesser to Rumi, but even incapable to the least of themselves in standup. They did not

know his roots or his heredity. His devotees had seen Rumi perform miracles and viewed

him as a “manifestation of God” on which excuse they had made him well-known and

won for him many disciples by bruiting about his conducts. Shams had come along and

tumbledown their mystical circle, blocking them from hearing Rumi’s lessons. Along

with this, Rumi’s son also dislikes Shams presence in their home, and the most important

he wanted to marry Kimya (Rumi’s student, who used to live in their home) but could

not, and she has been married to Shams, in the historical book, it is written that Shams

asked for Kimya’s hand but in novel Kimya herself asks Rumi to make her marriage to

Shams. Shams also has become the hindrance in the path of those who wanted to meet

Rumi, He seated outside the gate of the seminary in an embarrassing and threatening

manner. He asked everyone who wanted to meet Rumi that why he has come to see Rumi,

and what he has brought for him. So, after Shams disappearance Rumi has become grief-

stricken and more alienated himself retreated to his inner world instead of paying

attention to his students, when his disciples realized their mistake they came to Rumi and

begged for his pardon, after their sincere efforts Rumi repented them and sent Sultan

Walad his elder son to bring Shams back to Konya. When Sultan found Shams in

Damascus he begged him to come back and that those who were against him have

mended their ways and that his father severely needs him. When Shams came back, Rumi

along with his disciples welcomed him, they had parties and danced Sema. But most of

Rumi student turned against him again, and Shams warned Sultan that if he leaves now,

he will be no longer detectable for anyone. There is also another speculation that Shams

had not left Rumi for above-mentioned grievances but for the good of Rumi in spiritual

path, so that he could reflect what he has learnt, and also, he could decide whether he will

choose his disciples or Shams, in either case, he had to go one side (p. 217).

The causes narrated by Shafak in the novel, behind the first departure of Shams

from Rumi are somewhat different from Franklin D. Lewis’ Rumi, Past and Present, East

and West. When delighted by the spiritual dance of Shams and Rumi, Kaykhusraw

bestows golden coins to them,but, Shams abruptly tosses back the reward at him and says,

“We don’t dance for money,” he boomed in a deep voice. “The Sema is a spiritual dance

performed for love and love alone. So, take back your gold, sovereign! Your money is no

good here!” (p. 272). Rumi’s son also does not feel happy when Shams rejects

Kaykhusraw’s money and remarks that he has to leave their place, if not willingly, then

by force (p. 274). Rumi after Shams sudden departure, becomes melancholic and grief-

stricken, and tells the readers that though Shams was critical of Sheikhs and scholars,

very few people knew how capable of tafsir he was. Shams had deep knowledge in

alchemy, astrology, astronomy, theology, philosophy, and logic, but he kept his

knowledge hidden from ignorant eyes. Though he was a faqih, he acted as if he were a

faqir. Rumi assigns the duty of finding Shams to his older son Sultan Walad and gives

him a letter for Shams, informing him that people who gossiped against him are

remorseful and everything would be better this time, and that he should come back. When

Shams comes back again and after Kimya’s desire to marry him, Kimya is married to

Shams. And because Rumi’s younger son Aladdin also wanted to marry kimya, when

rejected by Kimya as she herself requests Rumi to marry her to Shams (pp. 296, 298),

Aladdin become thirsty of the blood of Shams and decides to do something to get rid of

Shams and this event foresee Shams final disappearance or death in the last (p. 310).

Although, Kimya is married to Shams but on the night of marriage Shams and after that,

Shams does not develops marital relationship with her, and as a result Kimya starts to

think that she is not beautiful and has become the victim of inferiority complex and

eventually falls ill and dies (because of the intensity of love for Shams and his rude

attitude towards her desires), after one night when Shams rejects to allow her in his room,

despite the fact that she requests the harlot to make her learn how to attract her husband

(pp. 306, 311, 313, 319, 320).

The first disappearance of Shams manifests some of the insights, which a careful

reader can take out after reading the fabricated version of the story by Shafak. Shafak, in

narrating this incident of the story slightly diverges from the historical version and posits

Shams as epitome of spiritual love, as is shown from his nature of relationship with

Kimya despite being married. Shafak is clearly disappointed by the lechery found in the

attraction of opposite sex. She wants to show her readers a path which will lead them to

purity among relations and consistency on the right path, whatever the results could be.

The final event of this story is death or disappearance of Shams of Tabrizi. As

narrated in the novel that when Suleman the drunk overhears the conspiracy of Shams

murder, he rushes to find him and tells him about the conspiracy. Shams cares least for

the conspiracy, as he believes that nothing in the world happens outside the knowledge of

God. When Jackal Head the killer hides himself in the home of Rumi and attacks Shams

to kill her, when unable to get hold over him, three other men come to his help, and

eventually knocks him to the ground, and after killing him dump his body in the well (pp.

330, 334). It is told in the novel that Rumi’s son Aladdin was part of conspiracy against

Shams and had central role in his murder. After the murder of Shams Rumi dissolves

himself to nothingness. He is also informed by a merchant that Shams is alive and is

hiding and meditating in an ashram in India. After the death of Shams, Rumi finds sort of

catharsis in the insight that he has himself become Shams so, there is no need to look for

him outside, He is present inside his heart

The historical account of the murder or the death of Shams totally differs from

what Shafak has narrated in the novel. The first thing is that Shams gets disappeared from

the scene after he is threatened to leave Konya not been murdered, as Franklin D. Lewis

believes and writes in his book as murder most foul, also Rumi goes to Syria looking for

Shams twice (P.227).

Here, Shafak diverges from the historical version of the story in narrating the final

incident of the story of Rumi and Shams Tabrizi. She seems totally under the spell of

mysticism, which sometimes overlooks the nature of human psyche. Shafak, in the whole

novel, can be seemed as glorifying mysticism which is preference of subjective


experience to find God rather than conforming to the orthodoxical approaches to find

Him. Shafak holds totally different religious views which are labelled as heresy by the

common people and are incomprehensible for the lot and therefore, the holder is regarded

as heretic.



In the present research Elif Shafak’s The Forty rules of love has been analysed with

reference to its intertextual features, in the light of new historical critique, which looks at

any text not only to know its history, but it also further investigates how the writer’s time

influences the work and how work influences a writer’s time. It tries to understand a

literary work by reading non-literary works of that era because it suggests that all history

is subjective and cannot be objective, because of people’s prejudices, history can never

present before us the truth or an exact picture of past events, so in order to understand and

grasp authentic information one has to study non-literary texts along with literary texts.

Through the analysis section, the questions which were introduced in chapter I

that whether Elif has converged or diverged to the real historical version of the story of

Rumi and Shams or has been stuck to the same version as therein non-literary texts and

what was her agenda which she wanted to achieve through writing this novel. It has been

observed that Shafak has used all the three devices in fabricating the story of Rumi and

Shams. She has converged into the story where she needed. In the same way, she has

attempted to diverge from the historical version of the story where she has felt necessary

in order to prove to achieve her agenda for writing the novel and she has also been stuck

to the historical version where it has suited to her goal. It has been observed that Shafak

had a special purpose to write this novel which she wanted to achieve through writing her

this novel. She just wants to present the picture of the Islam which is secular, liberal and

unimposing. She has picked up the emotion of love which is a universal drive to bring

people together on the single platform of humanity, denying all the boundaries of

religion, society, culture, civilization, and national or international frontiers. Through the

use of the technique of mysticism to developed spirituality, was the sole purpose of the

novelist to write this novel. She has purposefully, first by presenting the historical story of

undisputed love and secondly, by the introduction of the most reputed mystic figures of

Shams and Rumi who are symbols of the religion of peace and love, as characters, has

made efforts to revive the true values and spirit of Islam.

Rumi, who was the most eminent scholar of Islam, has shown being transformed

from high esteem to nothingness and the person who has been responsible for Rumi

transformation was Shams. It has been also observed during the analysis of the novel that

real change/transformation of a person starts from within, and a person can change his/her

life in any time, in his/her life. Shafak has shown transformation in the life of Rumi,

which is complete absorption in the new self, brought by Shams Tabrizi. She remarks that

every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation, if we are the same

person before and after we loved that's mean we haven't love enough.

To bring all humans on a single platform, Shafak has stressed the necessity of the

one religion, in today's world of controversies and ambiguity, that's only the religion of

humanity. Nothing in such a diverse world replete with linguistic, ethnic, cultural, and

financial differences can bring humanity under single rough other than love for humanity.

She has proved very skillfully that God dwells only in the heart of true lover, He cannot

be found or regarded that He lives in a particular place like mosque, church, synagogue.

One can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, but if one still needs

his abode, he should look for Him in the heart of a true lover.

She continues to tell her readers that real filth is one which is inside the heart, the

rest simply washes off and that there is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with

pure water that freezes in human heart because of hatred and bigotry, which eventually

contaminate the soul. She also remarks that one can purify one's body through abstinence

and fasting, but only love will purify one's heart. Shafak has tried to bring people

together, who are separate from each other on the basis of religion, cast and creed,

profession, and citizenship. She believes that humanity needs love which eternally drives

away all differences, as she has portrayed through the story of Rumi and Shams in the

thirteenth century, and in current era, the story of Aziz and Ella has much to reflect to its

readers. Shafak's agenda is to promote humanity through the universal drive of love,

which eventually dissolves all differences.

It is also observed during the analysis of this novel that it contains a number of

intertextual elements used by the writers which are references and citations from Holy

Quran and Sunnah of Holy prophet. It is also enriched with the reference from number of

historical books based on the biography of Rumi and Shams including the autobiography

of Shams Tabrizi translated by William Chittick. All the intertextual elements including

translation, parody, pastiche, allusions, and claques are detected in the novel. It is obvious

that Elif Shafak's The forty Rules of Love has intertextuality in its contents.

The technique of new historical critique has successfully been applied on this

novel, which best suits for this theory, it is also observed that this novel including

Shafak's all the novels has much application of Historical analysis, which eternally leads

researchers and its readers to better understanding of the novels written by Elif Shafak.

Most of Shafak's novels portray hidden agenda along with the entertainment and

knowledge of history. Her novels depict women empowerment, feminism and women'

rights, freedom of speech, global politics, mysticism; east and west, and Istanbul which

all have rich historical background and enough room for future researchers.


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