NMC255H1: Love, Battle, and Wit: Classics of Premodern Arabic Literature


This course surveys the premodern Arabic literary heritage, from pre-Islamic poetry to literature of the Mamluk period, focusing on texts that remained influential sometimes until the present day. Students read classic works in translation each week, while discussion focuses on social context and close reading. Throughout, we note the development of literary forms over time, and the way authors reference previous works. Readings include: the animal fable book Kalila wa Dimna, excerpts from anecdote collections (adab), multilingual Andalusi songs (muwashshah), the linguistically playful trickster tales called maqamat, an obscene shadow play by Ibn Daniyal, popular epic, and some of the most famous poems by Labid, Jarir, Abu Nuwas, Abu Tammam, al-Mutanabbi, and Ibn Nubata.

Creative and Cultural Representations (1)