Literary collections / Middle Eastern

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Conversations in Tehran

by Jean-Daniel Lafond & Fred A. Reed

In early 2004, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond (Salam Iran, a Persian Letter) and author Fred A. Reed (Persian Postcards: Iran after Khomeini) returned to Iran after a two-year absence—on the eve of the parliamentary...


Traces

by Gamal al-Ghitani & Nader K. Uthman

One of Egypt's greatest contemporary writers reflects on life and love

This haunting memoir, written ten years before Ghitani’s death, weaves together a series of vignettes in a style that mimics the uneven,...


Sea & Fog

by Etel Adnan

These interrelated meditations explore the nature of the individual spirit and the individual spiritedness of the natural world. As skilled a philosopher as she is a poet, in Sea & Fog, Adnan weaves multiple...


What ʿĪsā ibn Hishām Told Us

by Muhammad al-Muwaylihi, Roger Allen & Maria Golia

Trenchant and witty critiques of life in Cairo under British rule

What ʿĪsā ibn Hishām Told Us is a masterpiece of early twentieth-century Arabic prose. Penned by the Egyptian journalist Muḥammad al-Muwayliḥī,...


Light in the Heavens

by al-Qāḍī al-Quḍāʿī, Tahera Qutbuddin & Bishop Paul Hinder

Humanitarian lessons and practical insights from the prophet of Islam

The words of Muhammad, messenger of God and prophet of Islam, have a special place in the hearts of his followers. Wielding an authority second...


Consorts of the Caliphs

by Ibn al-Sāʿī, Shawkat M. Toorawa, The Editors of the Library of Arabic Literature & Marina Warner et al.

Accounts of remarkable women at the world's most powerful court

Consorts of the Caliphs is a seventh/thirteenth-century compilation of anecdotes about thirty-eight women who were consorts to those in power, most...


The Excellence of the Arabs

by Ibn Qutaybah, Peter Webb, Sarah Bowen Savant & Jack Weatherford

A spirited defense of Arab identity from a time of political unrest

In ninth-century Abbasid Baghdad, the social prestige attached to claims of Arab identity had begun to decline. In The Excellence of the Arabs...


The Book of Charlatans

by Jamāl al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥīm al-Jawbarī, Humphrey Davies, Manuela Dengler & S. A. Chakraborty

Uncovering the professional secrets of con artists and swindlers in the medieval Middle East

The Book of Charlatans is a comprehensive guide to trickery and scams as practiced in the thirteenth century in the...


The Life and Times of Abū Tammām

by Abu Bakr al-Suli, Beatrice Gruendler & Terence Cave

A robust defense of a poetic genius

Abū Tammām (d. 231 or 232/845 or 846) is one of the most celebrated poets in the Arabic language. Born in Syria to Greek Christian parents, he converted to Islam and quickly...


War Songs

by Richard Sieburth, ʿAntarah ibn Shaddād, James E. Montgomery & Peter Cole

Poems of love and battle by Arabia’s legendary warrior

From the sixth-century highlands of Najd in the Arabian peninsula, on the eve of the advent of Islam, come the strident cries of a legendary warrior and...


The Book of Travels

by Ḥannā Diyāb, Elias Muhanna, Johannes Stephan & Paulo Lemos Horta

The adventures of the man who created Aladdin

The Book of Travels is Ḥannā Diyāb’s remarkable first-person account of his travels as a young man from his hometown of Aleppo to the court of Versailles and...


Arabian Romantic

by ʿAbdallah ibn Sbayyil, Marcel Kurpershoek & Annmarie Drury

Scenes from Arabian life at the turn of the twentieth century

Arabian Romantic captures what it was like to live in central Arabia before the imposition of austere norms by the Wahhabi authorities in the early...


Arabian Romantic

by ʿAbdallah ibn Sbayyil, Marcel Kurpershoek & Annmarie Drury

Scenes from Arabian life at the turn of the twentieth century

Arabian Romantic captures what it was like to live in central Arabia before the imposition of austere norms by the Wahhabi authorities in the early...


Arabian Satire

by Ḥmēdān al-Shwēʿir, Marcel Kurpershoek & Jane Tylus

Satirical verse on society and its hypocrisies

A master of satire known for his ribald humor, self-deprecation, and invective verse (hijāʾ), the poet Ḥmēdān al-Shwēʿir was an acerbic critic of his society...


Maqāmāt Abī Zayd al-Sarūjī

by al-Ḥarīrī, Michael Cooperson & Abdelfattah Kilito

Maqāmāt Abī Zayd al-Sarūjī is a scholarly, Arabic-only edition of the celebrated work by al-Ḥarīrī, which is also available in English translation from the Library of Arabic Literature as Impostures....


In Darfur

by Muḥammad al-Tūnisī, Humphrey Davies, R.S. O'Fahey & Kwame Anthony Appiah

A merchant’s remarkable travel account of an African kingdom

Muḥammad al-Tūnisī (d. 1274/1857) belonged to a family of Tunisian merchants trading with Egypt and what is now Sudan. Al-Tūnisī was raised...


The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

by Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī & Mario Kozah

A brilliant cross-cultural Arabic interpretation of a key text of yoga philosophy

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali is the foundational text of yoga philosophy to this day and is still used by millions of yoga practitioners...


Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abū Shādūf Expounded

by Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī, Humphrey Davies & Youssef Rakha

Witty, bawdy, and vicious, Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī’s Brains Confounded pits the “coarse” rural masses against the “refined” urban population. In Volume One, al-Shirbīnī describes the three rural “types”—peasant...


Arabian Satire

by Ḥmēdān al-Shwēʿir & Marcel Kurpershoek

This lively volume collects poems by Hmedan al-Shwe'ir, who lived in Najd in the Arabian Peninsula shortly before the hegemony of the Wahhabi movement in the early eighteenth century.

A master of satire known...


The Discourses

by al-Ḥasan al-Yūsī & Justin Stearns

Wide-ranging essays on Moroccan history, Sufism, and religious life

Al-Hasan al-Yusi was arguably the most influential and well-known Moroccan intellectual figure of his generation. In 1084/1685, at the age of...