Our third list of 10 for public libraries is from Amanda Hannoosh Steinberg — Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art & Architecture at Harvard University — is also a scholar focused on women in medieval Arabic popular literature:

For these lists-of-ten, ArabLit is interviewing scholars, critics, and translators, and other bibliocentrics about the Arabic Literature in translation they would recommend for US’s public libraries. Eventually, this will build to a list of 100 book-buying recommendations. Having searched a number of public-library systems, we’ve decided there is no particular need to recommend Arabic’s only Nobel literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Anything else is fair game.

Steinberg’s recommendations, she says, are a mixture of personal favorites and “things that I think general audiences tend to find surprising coming from Arabic.”

1. Accounts of China and India by Abu Zayd al-Sirafi, translated by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

2. Mission to the Volgaby Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, translated by James E. Montgomery

3. A Hundred and One Nights, translated by Bruce Fudge

4. Consorts of the Caliphs, by Ibn al-Sa’i, translated by Shawkat M. Toorawa and the editors of the Library of Arabic Literature

5. :The Adventures of Sayf Ben Dhi Yazan: An Arab Folk Epic, edited and translated by Lena Jayyusi

6. Iraq + 100: The First Anthology of Science Fiction to Have Emerged from Iraq, ed. Hassan Blasim

7. Classical Poems by Arab Women, ed. Abdullah al-Udhari

8. Arabian Nights, edited by Muhsin Mahdi and translated by Husain Haddawy

9. On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbanied. and tr. Lena Jayyusi

10. Arabian Love Poems, by Nizar Qabbani, translated by Bassam K. Frangieh and Clementina R. Brown

Steinberg added that she wanted to add a collection of poetry by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab but that, surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be one in English translation.

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