Voices from the Desert is the fifth and concluding volume of P. Marcel Kurpershoek’s Corpus
Oral Poetry & Narratives from Central Arabia. The first volume appeared in 1994.
In the Preface the author looks back on his almost twenty years of involvement with Arabian oral culture. He also discusses some of the striking features of the traditions collected in these volumes, and their significance within the broader political, social, and cultural context of the tribal system stretching from Yemen to the Anatolian highlands.
An Introduction is followed by a consolidated Glossary, comprising all data accumulated and integrated from the glossaries of the previous four volumes. This elaborate glossary not only refers to the transcribed original texts in Volumes 1-4, but it has also been extended with many examples originating from corresponding Classical Arabic vocabulary, and additional Western sources.
Also included are the three indispensable indices to the complete Corpus: the Index of Subjects, the Index of Tribal Names and the Index of Proper Names. A List of Recordings completes this volume. The original recordings of the poets and transmitters, in the order of the published text with a description of the tracks’ contents, can be downloaded as MP3 files from Brill’s web site at
P. Marcel Kurpershoek is a member of the Netherlands Foreign Service. From 1996-2002 he was Middle East director in the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He held the chair for Politics & Literature in the Arab World at Leiden University from 1997-2002. Kurpershoek was the Netherlands ambassador in Pakistan 2002-2005 and will be the Netherlands ambassador in Turkey as from September 2005.
Preface Introduction to the Glossary Glossary Indices List of Recordings