A re-reading of Sabri Moussa’s classic Seeds of Corruption.
“Shajar al-Dur was the wife of a 13th century Ayyubid sultan based in Cairo. When he died unexpectedly, she pretended he was still alive, presided over the defeat of the 7th Crusade, and then had herself named Sultana. But no Top 10 singles, sadly.”
On Bringing the Mu‘allaqāt into English: ‘There’s Such a Divide That Needs To Be Crossed by the Translator’
“It allows me to be even more creative, I think, than I could be when translating modern prose. There’s such a divide that needs to be crossed by the translator, and that’s where the creativity comes in.”
“Unlike much older translations of this work,” the award citation says, “this new translation will be more poetic and accessible. Each poem will be contextualized with a brief introduction.”
On Teaching with Classical Arabic Texts That ‘Capture a Sense of Marvel, Wonder, Humor, And, Above All, Adventure’
“Surely, the life of the courtesan ʿArib differs in fundamental ways from, for example, the likes of a Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, or even a Justin Bieber. But how exactly? Listening last year to a Radiolab podcast on K-Pop, I was again struck by how modern some aspects of these women’s lives were.”
When Arabophones Weren’t Arabs: Ibn Qutaybah and Identity Formation During the Early Period of Islam
“The book should also be interesting to people who study medieval history of the rest of the world, because this was a time, in the post-Roman world, in which the identities of the modern European nations — the Franks, the Anglo Saxons, and even German identities — were being constructed in Europe. It’s really at the same time that Arabness was being constructed in the Middle East, so from a comparative perspective of the birth of modern nations, this book would be very helpful to people who know a lot about how Anglo Saxon identity was constructed, for instance.”
‘Whose Face is Huge and Wears a Hideous Expression’: On David Larsen’s Translation of ‘Names of the Lion’
Surely this blend of gloriously geeky scholarship (about half of each page is footnotes) combined with the several hundred whimsical, hilarious, gorily descriptive and downright bizarre names for the lion, collected by Ibn Khalawayh and translated and explicated by Larsen with such aplomb, should be a bestseller?
In his introduction, Perry tells us we know this 635-recipe cookbook, soon to be published in a bilingual edition from the LAL, “was the bestseller of the age, to judge from the fact that more copies of it have survived than of all the other medieval cookbooks combined.”
“When a chorus of voices sings words, I take the ensemble to be something of a cross-section of the society. The words in a choral piece carry a weight that, in my view, is different from the more personal medium of the solitary singer on stage because of the sheer number voices we perceive. It is public music. “
Meme-Makers, Puzzle Poems, and the Great Unwashed: Humphrey Davies on ‘Brains Confounded’ and ‘Risible Rhymes’
“I will admit to a hope, though: that they are the tip of an iceberg, and that more such works will be discovered in due course. That’s the more interesting scenario.”
“They do their best to indicate that philosophy – falsafa – is nothing more than a kind of wisdom – hikma – and wisdom is known as one of the true pursuits of god.”
Let’s talk about the chicken and the egg: Which came first, the 101 Nights or the 1001?