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Iterations of Loss

Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish

Jeffrey Sacks

In a series of exquisite close readings of Arabic and Arab Jewish writing, Jeffrey Sacks considers the relation of poetic statement to individual and collective loss, the dispossession of peoples and languages, and singular events of destruction in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Addressing the work of Mahmoud Darwish, Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Elias Khoury, Edmond Amran El Maleh, Shimon Ballas, and Taha Husayn, Sacks demonstrates the reiterated incursion of loss into the time of life—losses that language declines to mourn. Language occurs as the iteration of loss, confounding its domestication in the form of the monolingual state in the Arabic nineteenth century’s fallout. Reading the late lyric poetry of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish in relation to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, Sacks reconsiders the nineteenth century Arabic nahda and its relation to colonialism, philology, and the European Enlightenment. He argues that this event is one of catastrophic loss, wherein the past suddenly appears as if it belonged to another time. Reading al-Shidyaq’s al-Saq ‘ala al-saq (1855) and the legacies to which it points in post-1948 writing in Arabic, Hebrew, and French, Sacks underlines a displacement and relocation of the Arabic word adab and its practice, offering a novel contribution to Arabic and Middle East Studies, critical theory, poetics, aesthetics, and comparative literature. Drawing on writings of Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Avital Ronell, Judith Butler, Theodor Adorno, and Edward W. Said, Iterations of Loss shows that language interrupts its pacification as an event of aesthetic coherency, to suggest that literary comparison does not privilege a renewed giving of sense but gives place to a new sense of relation.

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The Legacy of Edward W. Said

William V. Spanos

With the untimely death of Edward W. Said in 2003, various academic and public intellectuals worldwide have begun to reassess the writings of this powerful oppositional intellectual. Figures on the neoconservative right have already begun to discredit Saids work as that of a subversive intent on slandering Americas benign global image and undermining its global authority. On the left, a significant number of oppositional intellectuals are eager to counter this neoconservative vilification, proffering a Said who, in marked opposition to the anti-humanism? of the great poststructuralist thinkers who were his contemporaries--Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, and Michel Foucault--reaffirms humanism and thus rejects poststructuralist theory._x000B__x000B_In this provocative assessment of Edward Saids lifework, William V. Spanos argues that Saids lifelong anti-imperialist project is actually a fulfillment of the revolutionary possibilities of poststructuralist theory. Spanos examines Said, his legacy, and the various texts he wrote--including Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism, and Humanism and Democratic Criticism--that are now being considered for their lasting political impact.

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Mahmoud Darwish

The Poet's Art and His Nation

by Khaled Mattawa

In Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, Mattawa pays tribute to one of the most celebrated and well-read poets of our era. With detailed knowledge of Arabic verse and a firm grounding in Palestinian history, Mattawa explores the ways in which Darwish’s aesthetics have played a crucial role in shaping and maintaining Palestinian identity and culture through decades of warfare, attrition, exile, and land confiscation. Mattawa chronicles the evolution of his poetry, from a young poet igniting resistance in occupied land to his decades in exile where his work grew in ambition and scope. In doing so, Mattawa reveals Darwish’s verse to be both rooted to its place of longing and to transcend place, as it reaches for the universal and the human.

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Mahmud Sami al-Barudi

Reconfiguring Society and the Self

Terri DeYoung

To explore the life of Mahmud Sami al-Barudi is to gain a nuanced perspective on the many facets—the perils and promises—of change in the rapidly modernizing Egypt of the nineteenth century. Al-Barudi, sole scion of a Turko-Circassian elite family that clung precariously to a legacy of position and power, turned his military education into a government career that ended with his elevation to the office of prime minister. He served briefly before the British invasion in 1882 put an end to Egypt’s independence for seventy years. As prime minister, al-Barudi focused on drafting and passing into law Egypt’s first constitution, an achievement that was summarily swept aside by the British occupation. Similarly, the prime minister’s efforts to modernize and improve the educational system were systematically undermined by the policies of colonial rule in the 1880s and 1890s. Although his reforms ultimately failed, al-Barudi was recognized among his contemporaries as the most consistent supporter of liberalism and eventually democratic representation and constitutionalism. For his boldness, he paid a price. He was exiled by the British to Ceylon for seventeen years and returned to Egypt in 1901 as a blind, prematurely aged, and broken man. Even before he made an impact as a political leader, al-Barudi had made a name for himself as the most original and adventurous poet of his generation. DeYoung charts the development of al-Barudi’s poetry through his youth, his career in government, his philosophical and elegiac reflections while in exile, and his return to Egypt at the beginning of a new century. Connecting the themes found in his more influential poems—among the more than 400 lyrics he composed—to the turbulent events of his political life and to his equally fierce desire to innovate artistically throughout his literary career, DeYoung offers a vivid portrait of one of the most influential pioneers of Arabic poetry.

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The Mantle Odes

Arabic Praise Poems to the Prophet Muhammad

Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych

Three of the most renowned praise poems to the Prophet, the mantle odes span the arc of Islamic history from Muhammad's lifetime, to the medieval Mamluk period, to the modern colonial era. Over the centuries, they have informed the poetic and religious life of the Arab and Islamic worlds. Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych places her original translations of the poems within the odes' broader cultural context. By highlighting their transformative power as speech acts and their ritual function as gift exchanges, this book not only demonstrates the relevance of these poems to contemporary scholarship but also reveals their power and beauty to the modern reader.

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Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East Since 1967

Samira Aghacy

Through a series of close readings of twenty contemporary Arabic novels, Aghacy presents a mosaic of masculinities that challenges the generally held view of an essentialized archetypal Arab man and mirrors a contested vision of manliness where men figure in diverse sociocultural environments. This groundbreaking work reveals the volatile nature of masculinity and its inextricability from femininity.

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A Millennium of Turkish Literature

A Concise History

Talat S. Halman and edited by Jayne L Warner

A Millennium of Turkish Literature tells the story of how literature evolved and grew in stature on the Turkish mainland over the course of a thousand years. The book features numerous poems and extracts, most in fluid translations by Halman. This volume provides a concise, but captivating, introduction to Turkish literature and, with selections from its extensive "Further Reading" section, serves as an invaluable guide to Turkish literature for course adoption.

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Modern Arab American Fiction

A Reader's Guide

Steven Salaita

Exploring the works of such best-selling authors as Rabih Alameddine, Mohja Kahf, Laila Halaby, Diana Abu-Jaber, Alicia Erian, and Randa Jarrar, Salaita highlights the development of each author’s writing and how each has influenced Arab American fiction. He examines common themes including the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Lebanese Civil War of 1975–90, the representation and practice of Islam in the United States, social issues such as gender and national identity in Arab cultures, and the various identities that come with being Arab American. Combining the accessibility of a primer with in-depth critical analysis, Modern Arab American Fiction is suitable for a broad audience, those unfamiliar with the subject area, as well as scholars of the literature.

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Modern Arabic Poetry

Revolution and Conflict

Waed Athamneh

In Modern Arabic Poetry, Waed Athamneh addresses enduring questions raised from the 1950s to the present as she investigates the impact of past and contemporary Middle Eastern politics on its poetry. Focusing on the works of three prominent poets, Iraqi ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Bayātī (1926–1999), Egyptian Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī (b. 1935), and Palestinian Maḥmūd Darwīsh (1941–2008), Athamneh argues that political changes in the modern Arab world—including the 1967 war and the fall of Nasserism, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, in Ḥijāzī's case, the 2011 Arab Uprising and its aftermath—inspired transitions and new directions in these poets' works. Enhanced by Athamneh's original translations of a number of the Arabic texts discussed, as well as translations published previously, Modern Arabic Poetry brings these poets fully into the purview of contemporary literary, political, and critical discourse. It argues that their individual responses to political changes proceed in three distinct directions: the metapoetic, in which the poet disengages from the poetry of political commitment to find inspiration in artistic (self-)exploration; the recommitted, in which new political revolutions inspire the poet to resume writing and publishing poetry; and the humanist, in which the poet comes to terms of coexistence with permanent or unresolved conflict.

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Monarch of the Square

An Anthology of Muhammad Zafzaf’s Short Stories

Translated by Mbarek Sryfi and Roger Allen

A master of the short story form, Muhammad Zafzaf is one of Morocco’s greatest narrative writers. This anthology, the first collection of his work translated into English, is a tribute to the remarkable influence he exerted on an entire generation of Moroccan storytellers. Zafzaf’s stories are set within a variety of contexts, each portraying a slice of life, a simple struggle for survival in a challenging world that is changing at a rapid pace. Narrative time is reduced to a single glimpse in these stories, full of irony, sarcasm, and sympathy. He covers all aspects of Moroccan life, from remote rural villages to modern cities. The stories in this collection explore the various myths, beliefs, and traditions that operate within Moroccan culture, questioning them from a distance in an easy, conversational manner that is the hallmark of Zafzaf’s style.

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