In this Book

Classical Arabic Literature
summary
A major achievement in the field of translation, this anthology presents a rich assortment of classical Arabic poems and literary prose, from pre-Islamic times until the 18th century, with short introductions to guide non-specialist students and informative endnotes and bibliography for advanced scholars. Like many pre-modern Arabic anthologies it aims at being both entertaining and informative. It ranges from the early Bedouin poems with their evocation of desert life to refined urban lyrical verse, from tender love poetry to sonorous eulogy or vicious lampoons, and from the heights of mystical rapture to the frivolity of comic verse. The prose contains anecdotes, entertaining or edifying tales and parables, a fairy-tale, a bawdy story, samples of literary criticism, and much more.
 
With this anthology, distinguished Arabist Geert Jan van Gelder brings together well-known texts as well as less familiar pieces that will be new even to scholars in the field. Many recent studies and anthologies of Middle Eastern literatures are primarily interested in Islam and religious matters—an emphasis that leads to the common misconception that almost everything in the region was and is dominated by religion. Classical Arabic Literature instead brings to life the rich variety of pre-modern Arabic social and cultural life, where secular texts happily coexisted with religious ones. This masterful anthology, in English only, will introduce this vibrant literary heritage to a wide spectrum of new readers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Letter
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Acknowledgements
  2. pp. xi-12
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  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. xii-13
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xiii-xxv
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  1. Notes to the Introduction
  2. pp. xxvi-xxviii
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  1. Verse
  2. pp. 1-30
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  1. A Qaṣīdah by ʿAbīd ibn al-Abraṣ
  2. pp. 2-3
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  1. A Qaṣīdah by ʿAlqamah ibn ʿAbadah
  2. pp. 4-7
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  1. A Qaṣīdah by al-Muthaqqib al-ʿAbdī
  2. pp. 8-11
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  1. An Elegy (Marthiyah) by al-Khansāʾ
  2. pp. 12-14
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  1. Polemics in Verse: An Invective Qaṣīdah by al-Akhṭal and a Reply by Jarīr
  2. pp. 15-20
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  1. Love in the Desert: A Qaṣīdah by Dhū l-Rummah
  2. pp. 21-26
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  1. An Umayyad GhazalPoem, used as an Abbasid Song Text
  2. pp. 27-28
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  1. An 'Udhri Ghazal attributed to Majnun Layla
  2. pp. 29-30
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  1. An Umayyad Ghazal by ʿUmar ibn Abī Rabīʿah
  2. pp. 31-32
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  1. A Love Poem by Umm Khālid
  2. pp. 33-62
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  1. Anti-Arab, Pro-Iranian Lampoon (Hijāʾ) by Bashshār ibn Burd
  2. pp. 34-36
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  1. A Modern (Muḥdath) Ghazal Epigram by Abū Nuwās
  2. pp. 37-66
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  1. A Ghazal by Abū Nuwās: On a Boy Called ʿAlī
  2. pp. 38-39
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  1. Two Wine Poems by Abū Nuwās
  2. pp. 40-42
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  1. A Lampooning Epigram (Hijāʾ) by Abū Nuwās
  2. pp. 43-72
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  1. A Ghazal Poem by al-ʿAbbās ibn al-Aḥnaf
  2. pp. 44-45
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  1. Three Love Epigrams by ʿUlayyah bint al-Mahdī
  2. pp. 46-48
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  1. A Poem of Asceticism (Zuhdiyyah) by Abū l-ʿAtāhiyah
  2. pp. 49-50
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  1. Ibn al-Rūmī: On His Poetry
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. A Qaṣīdahby Ibn al-Rūmī: A Party at ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Ṣāliḥ al-Hāshimī’s
  2. pp. 53-57
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  1. A Panegyric Qaṣīdah by al-Buḥturī
  2. pp. 58-60
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  1. A Victory Ode by al-Mutanabbī: The Qaṣīdah on Sayf al-Dawlah’s Recapture of the Fortress of al-Ḥadath
  2. pp. 61-64
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  1. Nature Poetry: Two Epigrams by Ibn Khafājah
  2. pp. 65-66
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  1. Strophic Poem: A Muwashshaḥah by al-Aʿmā al-Tuṭīlī
  2. pp. 67-68
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  1. An Anonymous Muwashshaḥah from Spain
  2. pp. 69-72
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  1. There Descended to You: A Philosophical Allegory by Ibn Sīnā
  2. pp. 73-74
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  1. Five Epigrams on Death and Belief, by Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī
  2. pp. 75-78
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  1. Mystical Ghazal : A Poem by Ibn al-Fāriḍ
  2. pp. 79-82
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  1. A Mystical Zajal by al-Shushtarī
  2. pp. 83-84
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  1. Two Elegies on the Death of his Concubine, by Ibn Nubātah al-Miṣrī
  2. pp. 85-88
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  1. A Zajal : An Elegy on the Elephant Marzūq
  2. pp. 89-92
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  1. Rajaz
  2. pp. 93-122
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  1. Early Rajaz
  2. pp. 94-123
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  1. A Few Lines from the Poem of Proverbs by Abū l-ʿAtāhiyah
  2. pp. 95-124
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  1. A Few Lines from The Thousand-liner by Ibn Mālik
  2. pp. 96-125
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  1. Light Verse: A Domestic Disaster, by Abū l-Ḥakam al Maghribī
  2. pp. 97-101
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  1. “Didactic” Verse: From a Poem on How to Behave in Society
  2. pp. 102-108
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  1. Prose
  2. pp. 109-139
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  1. Examples of Early Rhymed Prose (Saj')
  2. pp. 110-113
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  1. A Pre-Islamic Tale: The Princess on the Myrtle Leaf (Three Versions)
  2. pp. 114-116
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  1. How the Queen of Sheba Became Queen
  2. pp. 117-118
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  1. Two Stories from Meadows of Gold
  2. pp. 119-122
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  1. Lives of The Poets: al-Farazdaq Tells the Story of Imru' al-Qays and the Girls at the Pond
  2. pp. 123-126
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  1. Bedouin Romance: The Unhappy Love Story of Qays and Lubna
  2. pp. 127-165
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  1. A Parable: The Human Condition, or The Man in the Pit
  2. pp. 166-167
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  1. Mirror for Princes (and Others): Passages from Right Conduct
  2. pp. 168-175
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  1. Al-Jahiz on Flies and Other Things
  2. pp. 176-194
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  1. Essayistic Prose: Al-Tawhidi on the Superiority of the Arabs
  2. pp. 195-207
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  1. History as Literature: Al-Amin and al-Ma'mun, the Sons of Harun al-Rashid
  2. pp. 208-217
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  1. Passages from Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ (The Epistles of the Sincere Brethren)
  2. pp. 218-224
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  1. Prose Narrative: Four Stories
  2. pp. 225-244
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  1. The Isfahan Maqamah by Badīʿ al-Zamān al-Hamadhānī695
  2. pp. 245-247
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  1. The Debate of Pen and Sword
  2. pp. 248-254
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  1. A Visit to Heaven and Hell, by Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī
  2. pp. 255-276
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  1. Poetics: Ibn Rashiq on the Definition and Structure of Poetry
  2. pp. 277-280
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  1. Literary Criticism: From The Secrets of Eloquence by ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī
  2. pp. 281-296
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  1. Popular Science: Two Chapters from the Encyclopedia of Animals
  2. pp. 297-304
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  1. A Section from an Adab Encyclopedia: The Chapter on Stinginess from The Precious and Refined in Every Genre and Kind by al-Ibshīhī
  2. pp. 305-317
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  1. A Fairytale: The Tale of the Forty Girls
  2. pp. 318-332
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  1. Erotica: The Young Girl and the Dough Kneader, from The Old Man’s Rejuvenation
  2. pp. 333-338
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  1. Two Burlesque Stories from Brains Confounded
  2. pp. 339-344
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  1. Lyrical Prose: A Visit to the Bath, by al-Ḥaymī al-Kawkabānī
  2. pp. 345-351
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 352-425
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  1. Chronology
  2. pp. 426-428
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  1. Glossary of Names and Terms
  2. pp. 429-431
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 432-451
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  1. Further Reading
  2. pp. 452-456
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 457-465
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  1. About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
  2. pp. 466-496
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  1. About the Typefaces
  2. pp. 467-497
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  1. About the Translator
  2. pp. 468-498
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