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Edited by Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab

This volume is a collection of essays on classical Persian literature, focusing on Persian rhetorical devices, especially imagery and metaphors. The various contributions discuss the origin and the development of debate poetry, the transmission of Persian and Arabic tales to the works of Europeans medieval authors such as Boccaccio and Chaucer, but also the development of Aristotelian poetics and epistemology in Persian philosophical tradition. Furthermore, the baroque style of the Shiʿite author Ḥusayn Vāʾiẓ Kāshifī, the use of wine metaphors by mystics such as Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Ḥāfiẓ’s original use of candle metaphors, the translation of Khayyām’s metaphors into English, and the importance of a single metaphor in the epic Barzū-nāma are discussed.

Contributors include: F. Abdullaeva, G.R. van den Berg, J. Landau, F.D. Lewis, N. Pourjavady, Ch. van Ruymbeke, A. Sedighi and S. Sharma

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Jared Greenblatt

This work is a linguistic description of an obsolescent dialect of Neo-Aramaic. The dialect was originally spoken by Jews residing in the village of Amәdya (a.k.a Amadiya) in modern-day northern Iraq. No native speakers of this dialect remain in situ. They, along with the other Jewish communities of the Kurdish region, had all left by 1951. The majority went to Israel, where their numbers have dwindled. The dialect has not been passed on to the next generation, whose native tongue is Modern Israeli Hebrew. There remain but a handful of competent native speakers, whose speech has often been corrupted to varying degrees by exposure to Hebrew and other closely-related Neo-Aramaic dialects.

Shahnama Studies II

The reception of Firdausi’s Shahnama

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Edited by Charles Melville and Gabrielle van den Berg

This volume explores different aspects of the reception of Firdausi’s Shahnama or ‘Book of Kings’, both within Iran and in neighbouring lands. Later poets and writers not only looked to Firdausi’s work for a model, but supplemented its stories with other narratives or absorbed the characters and the moral values of the poem into their own works. Several chapters focus on the literary traditions fed by the Shahnama, including reports of the continuing oral performances of its more popular stories. Others discuss Firdausi’s impact on the creative imagination of the miniature painters who illustrated manuscript copies of the Shahnama in the courts of the Ottoman Empire, Moghul India, and the Central Asia Khanates up till the seventeenth century.

Contributors include Gabrielle van den Berg, Francesca Leoni, Farhad Mehran, Bilha Moor, Adeela Qureshi, Ravshan Rahmoni, Julia Rubanovich, Karin Ruehrdanz, Jan Schmidt, Ivan Steblin-Kamenski, Zeren Tanindi, Lâle Uluç, Evangelos Venetis, Olga Yastrebova, and Marjolijn van Zutphen.

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Mohssen Esseesy

Previous scholarship on Arabic prepositions typically has presented these as a static closed class of words. Inevitably, such a treatment does not take into account the diachronic development of prepositions into new functions in syntax, semantics and discourse. The present study applies grammaticalization theory to the analysis of prepositions and subordinators across varieties of Arabic. It goes beyond the traditional single-word focus and treats prepositions as parts of multiword complexes. Drawing upon a sizeable base of authentic historical and present-day Arabic data, it presents a rigorously descriptive and quantitative analysis of evolutionary processes involving prepositional forms and subordinators.

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Aaron Rubin

This volume contains a detailed grammatical description of the Omani dialect of Mehri, an unwritten Semitic language of the Modern South Arabian group. It is the first complete grammar of any Modern South Arabian language in a hundred years, and the first ever Mehri grammar based on the Omani dialect, making it an important contribution to the field of Semitic studies in general. Topics in phonology, all aspects of morphology, and a variety of syntactic features are covered in this volume. The grammar is based on texts collected by T.M. Johnstone, and published by H. Stroomer.

Arabic and the Media

Linguistic Analyses and Applications

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Edited by Reem Bassiouney

This volume is the first of its kind to deal with a variety of topics by leading scholars related to the use of Arabic in the media. The contributors examine patterns of language use in traditional as well as 'new' media types, in order to further our understanding of the mechanism at work in the development of modern Arabic, both in its standard and colloquial varieties.
The first part of this volume is devoted to a close analysis of various aspects of media Arabic (code-switching, language variation, orthography and constructions of identity); the second part builds on the first, as it asks, to what extent does the Arabic used in the media reflect social and linguistic realities of Arabic speaking audiences (‘clichéd’ dialects, code-switching and socialects)? How can our knowledge of the linguistic reality of the media in the Arab world contribute to teaching the media to foreign students learning Arabic?

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Roberta Sabbath

Contemporary sacred text scholarship has been stimulated by a number of intersecting trends: a surging interest in religion, sacred texts, and inspirational issues; burgeoning developments in and applications of literary theories; intensifying academic focus on diverse cultures whether for education or scholarship. Although much has been written individually about Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an, no collection combines an examination of all three. Sacred Tropes interweaves Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an essays. Contributors collectively and also often individually use mixed literary approaches instead of the older single theory strategy. Appropriate for classroom or research, the essays utilize a variety of literary theoretical lenses including environmental, cultural studies, gender, psychoanalytic, ideological, economic, historicism, law, and rhetorical criticisms through which to examine these sacred works.

Male Domination, Female Revolt

Race, Class, and Gender in Kuwaiti Women's Fiction

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Ishaq Tijani

This book investigates various forms of women’s resistance to male domination, as represented in Kuwaiti women’s fiction. Drawing on Marxist-feminist literary theory, it closely analyses selected texts (published between 1953 and 2000), which reflect the effects of patriarchal culture and tradition on race, class, and gender relations in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf region in general. It argues that the selected texts portray the pre-oil generations of Kuwaiti/Arabian Gulf women—born before or in the first half of the twentieth century—as resistant and/or revolutionary figures, contrary to the common notion of their stereotypical passivity and submissiveness. This book demonstrates how Kuwaiti women writers have used literature to work for, and contribute to, social change.

Arabic Literary Thresholds

Sites of Rhetorical Turn in Contemporary Scholarship

Edited by Muhsin Al-Musawi

This volume, dedicated to Jaroslav Stetkevych, includes a number of original contributions that signify a rhetorical shift in the social sciences and Arabic studies. The articles and essays deal with Orientalism, classical Arabic tradition, Andalusian poetry, Francophone literature, translation, architecture and poetry, comparative studies, and Sufism. Literary production is studied in its own terms to situate these literary concerns in the mainstream of cultural studies. The outcome is a solid and highly sophisticated scholarship that makes this book one of the most needed among scholars and students of comparative literature, Arabic poetics and politics, Orientalism, Afro-Asian studies, East/West encounters and translation.

Looking Back at al-Andalus

The Poetics of Loss and Nostalgia in Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature

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Alexander Elinson

Looking Back at al-Andalus focuses on Arabic and Hebrew Literature that expresses the loss of al-Andalus from multiple vantage points. In doing so, this book examines the definition of al-Andalus’ literary borders, the reconstruction of which navigates between traditional generic formulations and actual political, military and cultural challenges. By looking at a variety of genres, the book shows that literature aiming to recall and define al-Andalus expresses a series of symbolic literary objects more than a geographic and political entity fixed in a single time and place. Looking Back at al-Andalus offers a unique examination into the role of memory, language, and subjectivity in presenting a series of interpretations of what al-Andalus represented to different writers at different historical-cultural moments.