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xi Acknowledgements I am greatly indebted to the editors of the Library of Arabic Literature for accepting this anthology in the series, as a kind of hors d’œuvre or meze (for it is not a regular volume consisting of the edition and translation of one particular work). That only one name appears on the title page is misleading: in a real sense this anthology is a collective effort. The translations were made over a number of years, in the course of which I must have consulted many colleagues and students about particular points, and I apologize to them if I have forgotten the details. In the later stages I received very many useful suggestions and corrections from various sides, notably from an anonymous non-Arabist reader and the three LAL editors, Philip Kennedy, James Montgomery, and Shawkat Toorawa. The last-mentioned, especially, made heroic efforts to polish my English. I have accepted, with deep gratitude, the great majority of all their suggestions, while stubbornly sticking to my own versions, or making new ones, when I believed them to be more faithful to the Arabic original, or when I rejected a suggestion for metrical reasons (like the Arabs, I prefer poetry that has some kind of meter). Oxford, March 2012 ...


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