How Jurji Zaidan (Finally) Came to English

This week in Qantara, I have a piece about the historical novels of Jurji Zaidan. Here’s a bit from the middle: “George [Zaidan] came to me about five years ago,” Arabic literature professor and pioneering translator Roger Allen said, “because he realized that his grandfather had really been shoved aside in this process of the trying to … Continue reading How Jurji Zaidan (Finally) Came to English

Quiz: Re-reading History Through Jurji Zaidan’s Eyes

During Egypt’s late 19th/early 20th century nahda, novelist and educator Jurji Zaidan made the historical novel his particular study. In order to move forward with a particularly Arab identity, Zaidan reasoned, it was necessary to re-investigate, and re-invigorate, certain aspects of the past.  Zaidan’s fast-paced novels have remained popular among readers, but, for many years, Arabic historical … Continue reading Quiz: Re-reading History Through Jurji Zaidan’s Eyes

Jurji Zaidan’s Historical Novels in Translation & an Award for Samah Selim

I have heard, from @zuberino, that the publicity-shy University of Arkansas (X)* Center for Middle East Studies has announced that the exceptionally talented Samah Selim has won their Arabic Literature Translation award for 2011 for her translation of Jurji Zaidan’s Tree of Pearls. It’s noted here on the University of Arkansas website; but I can’t find … Continue reading Jurji Zaidan’s Historical Novels in Translation & an Award for Samah Selim

On Translating Jurji Zaydan’s ‘Tree of Pearls’

In the Chicago Tribune, I review Samah Selim’s new English translation of Jurji Zaydan’s Tree of Pearls. I also have a sidebar discussion with Selim on translating the novel (nearly) a century after its publication. As part of this, I spoke to translator and scholar Roger Allen, who predicted that Arabic literary history, which thus far had … Continue reading On Translating Jurji Zaydan’s ‘Tree of Pearls’

Two New Zaidan Historical Novels Available in English

The historical novels of Jurji Zaidan (1861-1914 ) have long delighted Arabic-language (and Persian-, Urdu-, Turkish-, and other-language) readers. For various reasons, only in the last two years have a few become available in English, including the gorgeously translated Tree of Pearls, available later this year from Syracuse University Press. And now two more: The author’s … Continue reading Two New Zaidan Historical Novels Available in English

Review: ‘The Unmaking of the Arab Intellectual’

“She takes issue with how literary contributions by Saudi female writers have been dismissed as belonging to a ‘chick-lit genre’ by offering a rereading of Saudi novelist Seba al-Herz’s ‘The Others.’ She invites us to think of the work as a critique of ‘secular nationalism and the secular-nationalist intellectual, which have hitherto framed the Arabic literary canon.'”

Arabic Literature, Malayalam Readers

Abu Dhabi-based translator S.A. Qudsi has translated a wide range of Arab authors — Nawal al-Saadawi, Ghada Samman, Naguib Mahfouz, Salwa Bakr, Ghassan Kanafani, Najwa Barakat — into Malayalam. He also translates from English, Indonesian, and Farsi. He answered a few questions about the Arabic-Malayalam relationship for our Arabic Literature, World Readers series.

50 Great Lebanese Novels and a 5-Book Starter Kit

The excellent indie press Archipelago sent out a note yesterday saying that, to celebrate “the 70th anniversary of Lebanon’s liberation from colonial rule, Archipelago Books is happy to announce that all of Elias Khoury’s books will be on sale for 60% off the original cover price, including e-books.” You just need to check out with the code “khoury70.” Where should you start with Khoury? Where should you go from there? Well.