LiPoL – Popular Literature of the Levant – is a French multidisciplinary research program which deals with a large collection of manuscripts of the Baybars romance (the « Sira », Sīrat al-Malik al-ẓāhir Baybarṣ) and their partial publication at the Ifpo Press (Presses de l’Ifpo). The program is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and is coordinated by Pr. Iyas Hassan.
These manuscripts were collected by researchers at the IFEAD (French Institute for Arab Studies in Damascus)1 in the 1990s and 2000s and were photodigitised at the end of the 2000s. LiPoL has now more than 30.000 pictures representing about 60.000 pages from the notebooks that the storytellers were using in Damascus coffee houses over the twentieth century.
By revisiting these notebooks, LiPoL members set several goals in order to enhance this cultural and scientific heritage: they aim to relaunch the research in the field of Levantine popular literature, to give a free access to the pictures of the manuscripts and their online publishing, and last but not least, to support young storytellers of the Near East who keep this tradition alive.
- Integrated into the Ifpo in 2003