Night and Horses and the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature

Robert Irwin

Published by The Overlook Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 1585670642 / ISBN 13: 9781585670642
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The first collection of poetry and prose from a rich and all too unfamiliar literary tradition.


Spanning the fifth to the sixteenthcenturies, from Afghanistan to Spain, Night and Horses and 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 and Horses and the Desert gives western readers a unique taste of the sheer vitality and depth of the medieval Arabpast.

From the Inside Flap: Spanning the fifth to sixteenth centuries and societies that range from Afghanistan to Spain, this anthology is a testament to the astonishing grandeur and variety of classical Arabic literature. Here are excerpts from dozens of works-both renowned (The Qur'an, "The Thousand and One Nights) and esoteric (Ibn Washshiyya's "Book of Poisons"; a 10th-century poem in praise of asparagus)-all accompanied by Robert Irwin's erudite commentaries that illuminate readers on the vanished world in which they were written.
In Night & Horses & the Desert we encounter the dashing Byronic poetry of Imru' al-Qays and a treatise on bibliomania by Al-Jahiz, possibly the only writer to have been killed by books. There's a sorcerer's manual from 11th century Spain and an allegory by the mysterious "Brethren of Purity," in which animals argue their case against humanity. Encompassing piety and profanity, fables and philosophy, this volume is a thrilling and invaluabe introduction to one of the world's great bodies of literature.


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Title: Night and Horses and the Desert: An ...
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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