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

As regular readers already know, I’m a fan of Ibn al-Jawzi’s biography of Ibn Hanbal. Translator Michael Cooperson answered a few questions about the project in a post that originally appeared on the Library of Arabic Literature blog.


Medieval Biography of Ibn Hanbal: Grotesque?

“A full time scholar has had the chance to develop a taste for” medieval biography with its medieval point of view, “but most readers would find it grotesque. … I doubt it would interest any but specialists.”

Humphrey Davies on Climbing Translation’s Mt. Everest

In his recent review of the book, M.A. Orthofer called Humphrey Davies’ translation of Ahmed Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg “the most important literary publication of a translation into English, in terms of literary history and our understanding of it, in years.” Davies answered a few questions about the four-volume book in an interview that originally appeared on the Library of Arabic Literature blog.

Cross-reading the Medieval

The introduction to Issue 5 of Spolia magazine quotes Yale professor Fred Robinson, who said (disapprovingly) that medieval “is most often used in Modern English simply as a vague pejorative term meaning ‘outmoded’, ‘hopelessly antiquated’, or even simply ‘bad.'”

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

Philip F. Kennedy, the Library of Arabic Literature’s General Editor, has been a key force in putting systems in place and getting the LAL — which focuses on Arabic-English editions of classical and pre-modern Arabic literature — on its feet. He spoke with ArabLit at the 2013 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair about how the project came about, noting a few the challenges the editors and editor-translators have faced.