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A Literary History of Medicine - The ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ of Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah Online offers a complete, annotated translation along with a new edition of the celebrated, informative and entertaining history of medicine – the first of its kind – by the Syrian physician Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿah (d. 1270), together with several introductory essays.A Literary History of Medicine is the earliest comprehensive history of medicine. It contains biographies of over 432 physicians, ranging from the ancient Greeks to the author’s contemporaries, describing their training and practice, often as court physicians, and listing their medical works; all this interlaced with poems and anecdotes. The reader will find in this work an Islamic society that worked closely with Christians and Jews, deeply committed to advancing knowledge and applying it to health and wellbeing.

Generously funded by the Wellcome Trust, this is an open access title distributed under the terms of the CC-BY-NC 4.0 License, which permits any non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

This work is also available as a print set (hardback, 5 volumes).
Editor / Translator: Oliver Kahl
ʿAlī ibn Sahl Rabban aṭ-Ṭabarī's Indian Books, completed in the year 850 CE as an appendix to his medico-philosophical chef-d'œuvre "Paradise of Wisdom", belong to the most remarkable texts in Arabic scientific literature. The Indian Books offer a unique, interpretative summary of the main tenets of Ayurvedic medicine, as understood by Arabic-speaking scholars on the basis of now lost translations from Sanskrit. The present book centres around a critical edition and annotated translation of this crucial text, framed by a detailed introduction and extensive glossaries of terms. Ṭabarī's learned exposé of Ayurveda also throws a more nuanced light on the allegedly uncontested supremacy of Greek humoralism in 9th-century Arabic medicine.
Jean-Baptiste Du Bos’ Critical Reflections on Poetry and Painting, first published in French in 1719, is one of the seminal works of modern aesthetics. Du Bos rejected the seventeenth-century view that works of art are assessed by reason. Instead, he believed, audience members have sentiments in response to artworks. Their sentiments are fainter versions of those they would feel in response to actually seeing what the work of art imitates. Du Bos was influenced by John Locke’s empiricism and, in turn, had a major impact on virtually every major eighteenth-century contributor to philosophy of art, including Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, Rousseau, Herder, Lessing, Mendelssohn, Kames, Gerard, and Hume. This is the first modern, annotated and scholarly edition of the Critical Reflections in any language.
Editor / Translator: Jan Bloemendal
This is the first edition since its original publication of Daniel Heinsius’ Latin tragedy Auriacus, sive Libertas saucia (Orange, or Liberty Wounded, 1602), with an introduction, a parallel English translation, and a commentary. Centering on the assassination of William of Orange, one of the leaders of the Dutch Revolt against King Philip II of Spain, Auriacus was Heinsius’ history drama, with which he aimed to raise Dutch drama to the level of classical drama. Highly influential, the tragedy contributed to the construction of a national identity in the Low Countries and launched Heinsius’ long career as an internationally celebrated poet and professor at Leiden University.
A Critical Edition of Chrysopoeia and Other Alchemical Poems, with an Introduction, English Translation and Commentary
Author: Matteo Soranzo
In Giovanni Aurelio Augurello (1441–1524) and Renaissance Alchemy, Matteo Soranzo offers the first in-depth study of the life and works of Augurello, Italian alchemist, poet and art connoisseur from the time of Giorgione. Analysed, annotated and translated into English for the first time, Augurello’s poetry reveals a unique blend of late medieval alchemical doctrines, Northern Italian antiquarianism and Marsilio Ficino’s Platonism, enriching conventional narratives of Renaissance humanism.
Author: Harry Vredeveld
As the University of Erfurt collapsed in the early 1520s, Hessus faced losing his livelihood. To cope, he imagined himself a shape-changing Proteus. Transforming first into a lawyer, then a physician, he finally became a teacher at the Nuremberg academy organized by Philip Melanchthon. Volume 5 traces this story via Hessus's poems of 1524-1528: "Some Rules for Preserving Good Health" (1524; 1531), with attached "Praise of Medicine" and two sets of epigrams; "Three Elegies" (1526), two praising the Nuremberg school and one attacking a criticaster; "Venus Triumphant" (1527), with poems on Joachim Camerarius’s wedding; "Against the Hypocrisy of the Monastic Habit" (1527), with four Psalm paraphrases; and "Seventeen Bucolic Idyls" (1528), updating the "Bucolicon" of 1509 and adding five idyls.
The Contemplacioun of Synnaris, by the Observant Franciscan William Touris, written c.1494 and evidently intended for King James IV of Scotland, is a significant and much copied work of Older Scots, although the earliest surviving witness is the English print by Wynkyn de Worde (1499).
The Contemplacioun was the very first work of Older Scots literature to be translated and to be printed. The poem’s seven sections comprise a course of meditations for Holy Week. Richard Fox, bishop of Durham, commissioned the English print, in which the stanzas were preceded by Latin sententiae, biblical, medieval and ancient. The work retained sufficient interest to re-emerge in separate versions in both Scotland (1568) and England (1578), drastically revised for Protestant readers.
In 1588, the Spanish Jesuit Pedro de Ribadeneyra published a history of the English Reformation, which he continued to revise until his death in 1611. Spencer J. Weinreich’s translation is the first English edition of the History, one fully alive to its metamorphoses over two decades. Weinreich’s introduction explores the text’s many dimensions—propaganda for the Spanish Armada, anti-Protestant polemic, Jesuit hagiography, consolation amid tribulation—and assesses Ribadeneyra as a historian. The extensive annotations anchor Ribadeneyra’s narrative in the historical record and reconstruct his sources, methods, and revisions. The History, long derided as mere propaganda, emerges as remarkable evidence of the centrality of historiography to the intellectual, theological, and political battles of early modern Europe.
Phineas Fletcher’s epic allegorical poem The Purple Island (1633) combines anatomical and devotional perspectives on the self as the poet explores the relationship between body and soul. The titular island is figured as both body and as England, thus merging religious, corporeal, devotional, and geo-national narratives. The present critical edition offers the first fresh editorial approach to the poem in over a century and situates the poem in its historical and critical contexts. Although the poem has often been regarded as a bizarre and fragmented curiosity, Johnathan H. Pope compellingly argues in favour of a more unified reading and understanding of the text as a whole, offering a newly-annotated edition that illuminates the text for both the Fletcher specialist and newcomer alike.
Swahili Poetry of Commitment by Ustadh Mahmoud Mau
The present volume is a pioneering collection of poetry by the outstanding Kenyan poet, intellectual and imam Ustadh Mahmmoud Mau (1952 - ) from Lamu island, once an Indian Ocean hub, now on the edge of the nation state. By means of poetry in Arabic script, the poet raises his voice against social ills and injustices troubling his community on Lamu. The book situates Mahmoud Mau’s oeuvre within transoceanic exchanges of thoughts so characteristic of the Swahili coast. It shows how Swahili Indian Ocean intellectual history inhabits an individual biography and writings while also portraying a unique African Muslim thinker and his poetry in the local language, which has so often been neglected as major site for critical discourse in Islamic Africa. The authors’ approaches highlight the relevance of local epistemologies as archives for understanding the relationship between reform Islam and local communities in contemporary Africa.
The selected poetry is clustered around the following themes: jamii: societal topical issues, ilimu: the importance of education, huruma: social roles and responsabilities, matukio: biographical events and maombi: supplications. Prefaced by Prof. Rayya Timamy (Nairobi University), the volume includes contributions by Jasmin Mahazi, Kai Kresse and Kadara Swaleh, Annachiara Raia and Clarissa Vierke.