Literatures of the Middle East

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9780130464378: Literatures of the Middle East

This extraordinary anthology gathers together a broad selection of representative, authoritative writings—spanning antiquity to the present—from the non-Western civilizations of the Middle East. It combines extensive introductions, headnotes, and bibliographies with excellent literary translations of the best contemporary and classical writers. The selections reflect literary, religious, and philosophical traditions and reveal—despite cultural differences—the universality of life experiences. Primary literary genres (poetry, fiction, and drama) as well as key religions, philosophical, historic, aesthetic, biographical and political texts are covered. For readers of Middle Eastern, World, and Non-Western Literature.

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This text, a derivative of LITERATURES OF ASIA, AFRICA, AND LATIN AMERICA gathers together a broad selection of representative, authoritative writings—spanning antiquity to the present. It combines extensive introductions, headnotes, and bibliographies with excellent literary translations of the best contemporary and classic writers.

This is an anthology that students will want to take home with them and to read long after the course is completed.

PICK A PENGUIN! We are delighted to offer select Penguin Putnam titles at a substantial discount to our students when you request a special package of one or more Penguin titles with any Prentice Hall text. Contact Your Prentice Hall sales representative for special ordering instructions.

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Literatures of the Middle East has been designed to present teachers and students with a textbook representative of the finest works of this province of world literature, one that is amenable to many different teaching approaches. This book includes a wealth of materials, so as to give teachers choices that they can tailor to their own preferences, needs, and expertise. This capaciousness will allow students to read around in authors, periods, arid traditions that particularly excite them, supplementing assigned reading and providing an essential source book for their individual research. Teaching such a broad spectrum of texts may be challenging, and with this in mind we have supported the literary texts with a full apparatus: a general introduction, section introductions, and extensive headnotes. These supporting materials provide broad and specific contexts, placing literary texts within important cultural, linguistic, and historical movements. In addition, the headnotes include up-to-date bibliographies to guide students for further research.

Translations have been selected primarily for their literary quality because we firmly believe that it is a disservice to students, professors, and authors to present a great work of literature in an English translation that does not read as literature. The depth and quality of these texts demand excellent translations, so that students and professors may encounter them in a form that preserves their artistic integrity and delight. The translators featured here are among the finest in their fields, and many are themselves prominent writers. They include Richard Burton, Ezra Pound, Chana -Bloch, Stephen Mitchell, Denys Johnson-Davies, Robert Pinsky, Robert Alter, Daniel Halpern, and Paul Bowles, among others. Our one rule has been to include no translation that is merely adequate. In a sense, then, this text is a showcase for the art of literary translation, and our hope has been to compile an anthology that students will want to take home with them and to read around in long after the course is completed.

In addition to literary texts, Literatures of the Middle East includes selections from religious and philosophical texts that have literary merit, such as the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic and other intertestamental scriptures, and the Qnran, as well as Sufi poems and teaching stories. These beautiful works also provide a cosmological and cultural context for literary texts. Extensive headnotes and introductions trace out religious movements and influence, giving students a broad overview of world religions, which have often inspired and been an essential part of world literatures.

In dealing with many literatures written in many languages, a special problem is presented by the question of orthography. Generally speaking, we have chosen to use those transliteration systems that are best designed for the general, nonspecialist reader, for whom a more scholarly orthography would prove less informative.

We would like to thank the scholars who have contributed to the project: Richard Serrano and Ariel Bloch for suggestions and comments on the selections. We would also like to thank Richard Serrano for helping us regularize and simplify the orthography for the Arabic sections, and especially to thank Ericka Embry, David Livingston, and Ayame Fukuda for their essential help in research, typing, organization, and in the thousand small tasts that a project like this entails. Ayame Fukuda provided essential research help and also co-wrote several introductions. We would also like to thank Carrie Brandon, who had the vision to see the need for this book to see light.

We would also like to acknowledge the following reviewers: Ali Jimale Ahmed, Queens College; Peter Edmunds, Lansing (MI) Community College; Lydia Liv, University of California, Berkeley; Michael Palencia-Roth, University of Illinois; Herman Rapaport, University of Iowa; and Lois Parkinson Zamora, University of Houston.

WILLIS BARNSTONE AND TONY BARNSTONE

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