The talk, titled "Her Own Devices: Language and Craft in the Thousand and One Nights," is introduced by Marina Warner.
The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were -- among other things -- a wonderful period for Arabic cookery compilations, several of which have recently been translated to English.
Mourns a friend and blames time that struck her down with what struck me
Current discussions include talks with Bilal Orfali on wise fools, Maurice Pomerantz on the magic of words, and Marcel Kurpershoek on Nabati and classical poetries.
"I have not observed anyone who has gone to extremes and set aside a single chapter in the Arabic language for half the human world, in which is brought together those women who were famed for their merits and who shunned bad qualities, even though a group of these women has excelled, having writings to their names with which they have rivaled the greatest learned men and engaged in poetic competition with the master poets."
Many literatures are underrepresented -- India has only eight authors; Turkey has one; China gets short shrift with 12 -- but there is nothing quite as strange as the seats at the back of the classics created for "Africa" and "The Arab World."
Which Arabic texts are they? According to the KITAB FAQ, they focus "on the origins of the written Arabic tradition, in the eighth century, up to roughly the fifteenth century, but aim to include as many texts as possible, so you can also find texts written after 1500."
"He doesn’t privilege the past or try to harmonize rules or role models; instead, by a leap of imagination, literary imagination, he works contemporary reality and subjectivity (very important!) into the fabric of lived faith."
An English translation of Hanna Diyab's travel-memoir, by Elias Muhanna and Johannes Stephan, is expected to come out in 2020 from the Library of Arabic Literature.
"I think Tanūkhī’s stories outclass the Nightsin every way, and unlike Shahrazad, he doesn’t go on and on. His plots are brisk and varied, even though in Deliverance Follows Adversity all the stories are about someone, usually someone just like you or me, getting into some sort of tight spot in one of their less bright moments, and coming out gratefully on the other side[.]"
"Sirat al-amira highlights women warriors more than any other Arabic work."
"and he said to me Who are you and who am I and I saw the sun and the moon and the stars and all the lights ashine."