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Desert Songs of the Night 1500 Years of Arabic Literature by Suheil Bushrui and James M. Malarkey

Desert Songs of the Night 1500 Years of Arabic Literature

Literary Fiction   History   Poetry   eBook Favourites   
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With 1500 years of poetry and prose included in this anthology, there is a hugely diverse range of thoughts and feelings on display. In the introduction, the editors Suheil Bushrui and James M. Malarkey explain the importance of and provide a really useful summary of Arab literature and history, detail the difficulty of translation and express their hope that readers from all cultures may be receptive to a wider exploration of literature that might be previously unknown to them. The work chosen, crosses the boundaries of religion, sex, history, and culture; a book to dip in and out of, to open your mind to. Some of the editors' choices may be more difficult to connect with, the common bond may feel remote or unobtainable, some encourage consideration and reflection, while others quite simply sing to the soul, it is all a matter of personal choice. Personally, ’Rejoice’ by May Ziadah struck an immediate chord, reading without thought of religion, politics or social injustice, it simply spoke to me of the joy of positivity. Desert Songs of the Night allows a step towards observation and exploration but most importantly, it highlights the wonder of the written word. ~ Liz Robinson

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Desert Songs of the Night 1500 Years of Arabic Literature by Suheil Bushrui and James M. Malarkey

A unique and extraordinary collection, Desert Songs of the Night presents some of the finest poetry and prose by Arab writers, from the Arab East to Andalusia, over the last 1,500 years. From the mystical imagery of the Qur'an and the colourful stories of The Thousand and One Nights, to the powerful verses of longing of Mahmoud Darwish and Nazik al-Mala'ika, this captivating collection includes translated excerpts of works by the major authors of the period, as well as by lesser known writers of equal significance. Desert Songs of the Night showcases the vibrant and distinctive literary heritage of the Arabs. Beautifully produced, this is the ideal book for lovers of world literature and for those who seek an acquaintance with gems of Arab thought and expression.


'Desert Songs of the Night is a wonderful introduction to fifteen centuries of a literature still largely unknown in the West, without which much of our civilizations would not have developed as they have, from the rediscovery of Aristotle by Arab commentators to the lyric poetry of Europe, from the magical world of the Arabian Nights to the modern revolutionary poets of Palestine. Absolutely essential reading for our troubled times.'
Alberto Manguel

'At a time when the world obsesses over violence and bloodletting in the Arab world, this remarkable anthology, which spans 1,500 years of Arab literary genius, is a stark reminder that there exists an untold story we keep missing about the region.'
Hanan al-Shaykh

'This is a beautiful-looking book and inside the romance and beauty continue ... a valuable volume'
Sunday Herald

About the Author

Professor Suheil Bushrui is a distinguished author, poet, critic, and media personality, who has published critical studies on W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett. He is currently Director of the University of Maryland's Kahlil Gibran Research and Studies Project, and has also served as Chairman of the International Association for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature (ISAIL). Bushrui's published work is extensive, and includes the definitive biography of Gibran entitled Kahlil Gibran: Man and Poet, which he co-authored with Joe Jenkins.

James M. Malarkey is a specialist on Middle Eastern and North African affairs. The Chair of Humanities and General Education at Antioch University Midwest, Malarkey has taught Anthropology at Antioch College, Cultural Studies at the American University of Beirut, Linguistics at the University of Constantine, Algeria, as well as World Classics at Antioch University McGregor.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th July 2015


Suheil Bushrui and James M. Malarkey

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Saqi Books


480 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Poetry anthologies (various poets)
Anthologies (non-poetry)



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