A Corpus, Not a Canon: Translating Classical Arabic for the Modern Reader

On Nov. 20, a number of Library of Arabic Literature (LAL) stalwarts will be found at the Penn Bookstore in Philadelphia, giving a talk about “A Corpus, Not a Canon: Translating Classical Arabic for the Modern Reader”:

lalThe talk will feature LAL Editorial Board members Shawkat Toorawa, who could make a discussion of drying paint fascinate, Devin Stewart and Joseph Lowry, LAL Managing Editor Chip Rossetti, and pioneering scholar-translator Roger Allen, whose translation of What ʿĪsā ibn Hishām Told Us, or, A Period of Time is set to come out next spring.

The LAL discussion will touch on the project’s “origins, how it selects its titles, and the challenge of making this rich literary tradition accessible to contemporary readers.” More details here.

ArabLit has discussed a number of the translations with LAL translator-editors. If you aren’t in Philadelphia:


Philip Kennedy: These Books Shouldn’t Just Hide on a Shelf

Joseph Lowry: Translating ‘Sharia’ for a Contemporary American Audience

Joseph Lowry: Forthcoming Literature of the Courtesans at the Abbasid Court

Tahera Qutbuddin: ‘A Treasury of Virtues’: Ali’s Influence on Contemporary Arabic Literature

Gregor Schoeler: Who’s the Heretic Here?

Geert Jan van Gelder: Translators Need to Love Compromises

Humphrey Davies: Climbing Translation’s Mt. Everest

Michael Cooperson: ‘As Detailed A Picture of Ibn Ḥanbal’s World as We’re Likely to Get’

Th. Emil Homerin: On Translating ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah, Perhaps Arabic’s Most Prolific Premodern Woman Writer

Sean W. Anthony: The Salty Language of an Early Biography of Muhammad

Other LAL Discussions

Library of Arabic Literature Board on ‘Translating the Untranslatable’

On Collaboratively Translating Arabic: ‘We Don’t Want To Do the Notes’