If there were two disappointments I had while reading the opening chapter of Sinan Antoon’s The Poetics of the Obscene in Premodern Arabic Poetry, “Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf: Genealogies,” they were: 1) that the full book is listed at more than $70, and 2) that there wasn’t a companion historical novel that gives full imaginative license to a re-crafting of Ibn al-Hajjaj and his contemporaries.
Th. Emil Homerin, author of the recently-published The Principles of Sufism, has long been interested in the work of ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah, who is perhaps the most prolific and prominent woman who wrote in Arabic prior to the modern period. Homerin, a professor of religion and former chair of the Department of Religion & Classics at the University of Rochester, previously translated a collection of al-Ba’uniyyah’s poems as Emanations of Grace, and likens her work to that of the famous Persian poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi.
The first of February apparently was Robinson Crusoe Day, with a plethora of activities, books, lesson plans and more being offered around the Internet, for readers small and not-so-small. It’s Feb 1 because that’s the day Alexander Selkirk — who may have been a key inspiration for Robinson Crusoe — was apparently rescued from the island of Juan Fernandez. Certainly, there are other possible models, among them a narrative by Ibn Tufayl that was “a sensation among intellectuals in Daniel Defoe’s day.
As regular readers already know, I’m a fan of Ibn al-Jawzi’s biography of Ibn Hanbal. Translator Michael Cooperson answered a few questions about the project in a post that originally appeared on the Library of Arabic Literature blog.
“A full time scholar has had the chance to develop a taste for” medieval biography with its medieval point of view, “but most readers would find it grotesque. … I doubt it would interest any but specialists.”
In his recent review of the book, M.A. Orthofer called Humphrey Davies’ translation of Ahmed Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg “the most important literary publication of a translation into English, in terms of literary history and our understanding of it, in years.” Davies answered a few questions about the four-volume book in an interview that originally appeared on the Library of Arabic Literature blog.
The introduction to Issue 5 of Spolia magazine quotes Yale professor Fred Robinson, who said (disapprovingly) that medieval “is most often used in Modern English simply as a vague pejorative term meaning ‘outmoded’, ‘hopelessly antiquated’, or even simply ‘bad.’”
I recently interviewed Tahera Qutbuddin — editor and translator of A Treasury of Virtues: Sayings, Sermons, and Teachings of Ali, with the One Hundred Proverbs for the Library of Arabic Literature blog. She talked about the way in which Ali b. Abi Talib’s sermons, proverbs, and poetry influenced the course of Arabic literature.
The Library of Arabic Literature (LAL) board staged a panel in May 2013. For those who couldn’t make it, the video is now available in three parts on the LAL site.
I recently spoke with translator and scholar Joseph Lowry about his translation of The Epistle on Legal Theory (the Risālah). He also talked about another project he has been working on for the Library of Arabic Literature: ArabLit: Are there other future projects you’re… Read More ›
Philip F. Kennedy, the Library of Arabic Literature’s General Editor, has been a key force in putting systems in place and getting the LAL — which focuses on Arabic-English editions of classical and pre-modern Arabic literature — on its feet. He spoke with ArabLit at the 2013 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair about how the project came about, noting a few the challenges the editors and editor-translators have faced.
Dr. Geert Jan van Gelder, who recently translated and edited the Library of Arabic Literature collection Classical Arabic Literature: A Library of Arabic Literature Anthology, will be speaking in Surrey, B.C. on March 14 about his latest project, al-Ma’ari’s The Epistle of Forgiveness: From the… Read More ›