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NYU Press and NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) announce the establishment of the Library of Arabic Literature (LAL), a new publishing series offering Arabic editions and English translations of the great works of classical Arabic literature. The translations, rendered in parallel-text format with Arabic and English on facing pages, will be undertaken by renowned scholars of Arabic literature and Islamic studies, and will include a full range of works, including poetry, poetics, fiction, religion, philosophy, law, science, history and historiography. Unprecedented in its scope, LAL will produce authoritative and fiable editions of the Arabic and modern, lucid English translations, introducing the treasures of the Arabic literary heritage to scholars and students, as well as to a general audience of readers.
Spanning the fifth century to the sixteenth, and ranging from Afghanistan to Spain, this unique collection provides a profound insight into the sheer vitality and depth of Classical Arabic literature. From the earliest surviving fragments of The Thousand and One Nights to the elegant beauty and profound power of the Qur'an - believed by the Islamic faith to contain the actual words of Allah - it includes translated extracts from all the major works of the period, alongside many less well-known but equally fascinating pieces. Exploring such traditional themes as lovesick yearning and fated doom, and considering subjects as diverse as the etiquette of falling in love with slave-girls and the terrors of the sea, this compelling anthology of poetry and prose brilliantly illuminates a body of writing that has been unjustly neglected by the west for centuries.
Through analysing ancient and classical Arabic literature, including the Qur'an, from within the Arabic literary tradition, this book provides an original interpretation of poetics, and of other important aspects of Arab culture. Ancient Arabic literature is a realm of poetry; prose literary forms emerged rather late, and even then remained in the shadow of poetic creative efforts. Traditionally, this literature has been viewed through a philologist’s lens and has often been represented as ‘materialistic’ in the sense that its poetry lacked imagination. As a result, Arabic poetry was often evaluated negatively in relation to other poetic traditions. The Poetics of Ancient and Classical Arabic Literature argues that old Arabic literature is remarkably coherent in poetical terms and has its own individuality, and that claims of its materialism arise from a failure to grasp the poetic principles of the Arabic tradition. Analysing the Qur’an, which is known for confronting the poetry of the time, this book reveals that "post Qur’anic" literature came to be defined against it. Thus, the constitution and interpretation of Arabic literature imposed itself as a particular exegesis of the sacred Text. Disputing traditional interpretations by arguing that Arabic literature can only be assessed from within, and not through comparison with other literary traditions, this book is of interest to students and scholars of Islamic Studies, Arabic Studies and Literary Studies.
What makes language beautiful? Arabic Poetics offers an answer to what this pertinent question looked like at the height of the Islamic civilization. In this novel argument, Lara Harb suggests that literary quality depended on the ability of linguistic expression to produce an experience of discovery and wonder in the listener. Analyzing theories of how rhetorical figures, simile, metaphor, and sentence construction are able to achieve this effect of wonder, Harb shows how this aesthetic theory, first articulated at the turn of the eleventh century CE, represented a major paradigm shift from earlier Arabic criticism which based its judgement on criteria of truthfulness and naturalness. In doing so, this study poses a major challenge to the misconception in modern scholarship that Arabic criticism was 'traditionalist' or 'static', exposing an elegant widespread conceptual framework of literary beauty in the post-eleventh-century Islamicate world which is central to poetic criticism, the interpretation of Aristotle's Poetics in Arabic philosophy and the rationale underlying discussions about the inimitability of the Quran.
Exploring the underlying meanings of these motifs, Homoeroticism in Classical Arabic Literature does not so much delineate or identify homosexuality in Arabic literature as offer new, cogent readings of how homoeroticism can be identified by viewing classic Arabic literature through various analytical lenses. A collection of essays by the most influential scholars in the field, this book brings to bear a variety of critical perspectives, ranging from traditional philology to Lacanian analysis, on a literary corpus that includes classical lyric poetry, anecdotal collections, mystical narratives, manuals for dream interpretation, vernacular songs, and shadow plays.
This reference work covers the classical, transitional and modern periods. Editors and contributors cover an international scope of Arabic literature in many countries.
Assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, Arabic Literature - An Overview gives a rounded and balanced view of Arab literary creativity. 'High' literature is examined alongside popular folk literature, and the classical and modern periods, usually treated separately, are presented together. Cachia's observations are not subordinated to any pre-formed literary theory, but describe and illustrate the directions taken, in order to present an overall picture of the field of relevance to the student of literature as well as to Arabists working in related fields.
"Geert Jan van Gelder's God's Banquet surveys the many and varied ways in which food appears in classical Arabic literature, including pre-Islamic poetry, the Koran, Islamic poetry and tales, the Thousand and One Nights, and popular genres such as the adab-anthologies and satires. Focusing more on dishes than foodstuffs, on concoctions rather than ingredients, van Gelder is concerned with how food is depicted, as well as how literary texts are shaped by the theme of food." "God's Banquet also investigates the representations of stereotypical diets to distinguish different types of people - contrasting, for examples, Sufis and Bedouins, princes and peasants, aesthetes and "women of easy virtue." More unusual subjects, such as the roles of various dishes in dream interpretation, as well as the idea of the text itself as a sort of banquet, also receive witty and lucid treatment in van Gelder's expert hands."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
"Close Relationships is Geert Jan van Gelder's groundbreaking and comprehensive study of the diverse facts and opinions found in pre-modern Arabic texts - both literary and non-literary - concerning incest and inbreeding resulting from repeated close-kin marriage. The pre-Islamic Bedouin Arabs knew about the dangers of human inbreeding, yet by the time the Prophet Muhammed is said to have warned "Marry strangers, then you will not produce stunted offspring!" marrying one's father's brother's daughter had traditionally been the preferred choice in order to keep wealth and marriage in the same family. The Qur'an laid down the basic rules of marriage impediments, which, uniquely, include not only blood-relationships but also milk-relationships i.e. being suckled by the same woman. Later generations of jurists and exegetes elaborated and discussed these rules; some of them tried to justify and explain the prohibitions, mostly in ethical and social rather than in biological terms. Incest is shown to be a motif found in lampoons, anecdotes, jokes, stories, legends, creation stories (Adam and Eve's children), dream interpretation, and polemics with other religions or ethnic groups. In particular, the Zoroastrian Persians, who allegedly recommended next-of-kin marriage in pre-Islamic times, were attacked. Van Gelder acknowledges that while it is dangerous to make general assertions about the difference between "Western" and Arab or Middle Eastern customs and attitudes, he argues that the theme of incest, so prominent at least in European literature since the Greek myths, is somewhat marginal in Arabic literature. Many of the relevant passages have been translated into English specially for this richly documented book that will be of interest not only to philologists and students of Arabic literature or Islamic culture but also to the general reader interested in the history of incest and inbreeding and attitudes towards these closely related concepts."--Bloomsbury Publishing.
This work deals with "wasf" or description which is one of the salient characteristics of the "qasidah" (classical Arabic poetry) tradition. It examines descriptive passages in a selected group of Arabic "qasidah" from different ages, with the motifs of horses, and bees and honey-gathering.
Short fiction was an immensely innovative art in the medieval Arab world and speaks to the urbanization of the Arab domain after Islam. It reflects the bustling life of Muslim Arabs and Islamized Persians and the sure stamp of an urbanity that had settled very staunchly after big conquests. Reading these texts today illuminates the wide spectrum of early Arab life and the influences and innovations that flourished so vibrantly in medieval Arab society. Classical Arabic Stories selects from an impressive corpus, including excerpts from seven seminal works: Ibn Tufail's novel, Hayy ibn Yaqzan; Kalila wa Dimna by Ibn al-Muqaffa; The Misers by al-Jahiz; The Brethren of Purity's The Protest of Animals Against Man; Al-Maqamat (The Assemblies) by al-Hamadhani and al-Hariri; Epistle of Forgiveness by al-Ma'arri; and the epic romance, Sayf Bin Dhi Yazan. Organized thematically, the volume begins with pre-Islamic tales, stories of rulers and other notables, and thrilling narratives of danger and warfare. It follows with tales of love, religion, comedy, and the strange and the supernatural.
The final volume of The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature explores the Arabic literary heritage of the little-known period from the twelfth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Even though it was during this time that the famous Thousand and One Nights was composed, very little has been written on the literature of the period generally. In this volume Roger Allen and Donald Richards bring together some of the most distinguished scholars in the field to rectify the situation. The volume is divided into parts with the traditions of poetry and prose covered separately within both their 'elite' and 'popular' contexts. The last two sections are devoted to drama and the indigenous tradition of literary criticism. As the only work of its kind in English covering the post-classical period, this book promises to be a unique resource for students and scholars of Arabic literature for many years to come.
Takhyil is a term from Arabic poetics denoting the evocation of images. It has a broad spectrum of connotations throughout classical philosophical poetics and rhetoric, and it is closely linked to the Greek concept of phantasia. This volume is comprised of annotated translations of key texts on this topic from major philosophers and literary theoreticians, including Alfarabi (al-Farabi), Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Averroes (Ibn Rushd), and 'Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani. In her preface, the classicist Anne Sheppard relates takhyil to Greek poetics, and in his introduction, Wolfhart Heinrichs traces the development of the term in the Arabic tradition. The second part of the book contains eight studies on takhyil and various aspects of image-evocation and how it relates to musical theory, literary criticism and rhetoric. The opening essay is by Katrin Kohl, a specialist in European poetics, who places takhyil in the wider context of poetic universals.
The first collection of poetry and prose from a rich and all too unfamiliar literary tradition Spanning the fifth to the sixteenth centuries, from Afghanistan to Spain, Night & Horses & The Desert includes translated extracts from all the major classics in an invaluable introduction to the subject. Robert Irwin has selected a wide range of Arabic poetry and prose in translation, from the most important and typical texts to the very obscure. Alongside the extracts, Irwin’s copious commentary and notes provide an explanatory history of Arabic literature. What were the various genres and to what extent were they constrained by rules? What were the canons of traditional Arabic literary criticism? How were Arabic prose and poetry recited and written down? Irwin explores the literary environments of the desert, salon, mosque, and bookshop and provides brief biographies of the caliphs, princesses, warriors, scribes, dandies, and mystics who created such a rich and diverse literary culture. Night & Horses & The Desert gives western readers a unique taste of the sheer vitality and depth of the medieval Arab past.
As the distinctive contribution of Islamic Spain to Arabic literature, the strophic muwashshahand zajal are still viewed by some as a development from putative Romance prototypes. No less than seven theories of origin of the Provençal lyrics have been proffered, foremost among them being the Arabic origins theory. This book lets the strophic muwashshah tell its own tale of a natural development in the context of classical Arabic literature.

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