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Adab and Modernity

A “civilising process” ? (sixteenth-twenty-first century)

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Edited by Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen

Adab is a concept situated at the heart of Arabic and Islamic civilization. Adab is etiquette, ethics, and literature. It is also a creative synthesis, a relationship within a configuration. What became of it, towards modernity ? The question of the "civilising process" (Norbert Elias) helps us reflect on this story. During the modern period, maintaining one's identity while entering into what was termed "civilisation" ( al-tamaddun) soon became a leitmotiv. A debate on what was or what should be culture, ethics, and norms in Middle Eastern societies accompanied this evolution. The resilient notion of adab has been in competition with the Salafist focus on mores ( akhlāq). Still, humanism, poetry, and transgression are constants in the history of adab. Contributors: Francesca Bellino, Elisabetta Benigni, Michel Boivin, Olivier Bouquet, Francesco Chiabotti, Stéphane Dudoignon, Anne-Laure Dupont, Stephan Guth, Albrecht Hofheinz, Katharina Ivanyi, Felix Konrad, Corinne Lefevre, Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Astrid Meier, Nabil Mouline, Samuela Pagani, Luca Patrizi, Stefan Reichmuth, Iris Seri-Hersch, Chantal Verdeil, Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan.

Arabic Historical Literature from Ghadāmis and Mali

Documents from the 18th to 20th Century

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Harry T. Norris

In this work translations of four texts are provided from Ghadāmis and from Mali. The first is a biography of the Ghadāmisī scholar ʿAbdallāh b. Abī Bakr al-Ghadāmisī (1626–1719 AD), written by the eighteenth-century author Ibn Muhalhil al-Ghadāmisī. A second text is “The History of al-Sūq”, concerning al-Sūq, the historic town of Tādmakka and the original home of the Kel-Essouk Tuareg. The third text is “The Precious Jewel in the Saharan histories of the ‘People of the Veil’” by Muḥammad Tawjaw al-Sūqī al-Thānī, a contemporary Tuareg author. It pertains to the Kel-Essouk and their historical ties with the Maghreb and West Africa. The final text is a description of the Tuareg from the book “Ghadāmis, its features, its images and its sights” by Bashīr Qāsim Yūshaʿ, published in Arabic in 2001 AD.

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Tahera Qutbuddin

In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.

Al-Maqrīzī’s al-Ḫabar ʿan al-bašar

Vol. V, Sections 1-2: The Arab Thieves

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Edited by Peter Webb

In The Arab Thieves, Peter Webb critically explores the classic tales of pre-Islamic Arabian outlaws in Arabic Literature. A group of Arabian camel-rustlers became celebrated figures in Muslim memories of pre-Islam, and much poetry ascribed to them and stories about their escapades grew into an outlaw tradition cited across Arabic literature. The ninth/fifteenth-century Egyptian historian al-Maqrīzī arranged biographies of ten outlaws into a chapter on ‘Arab Thieves’ in his wide-ranging history of the world before Muhammad. This volume presents the first critical edition of al-Maqrīzī’s text with a fully annotated English translation, alongside a detailed study that interrogates the outlaw lore to uncover the ways in which Arabic writers constructed outlaw identities and how al-Maqrīzī used the tales to communicate his vision of pre-Islam. Via an exhaustive survey of early Arabic sources about the outlaws and comparative readings with outlaw traditions in other world literatures, The Arab Thieves reveals how Arabic literature crafted lurid narratives about criminality and employed them to tell ancient Arab history.

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Ayse Ozge Kocak Hemmat

The Turkish Novel and the Quest for Rationality is the first book to contextualize the Turkish novel with regard to the intellectual developments motivating the Turkish modernization project since the 18th century. The book provides a dialectical narrative for the emergence and development of the Turkish novel in order to highlight the genre’s critical role within the modernization project. In doing so, it also delineates the changing forms the novel assumes in the Turkish context from a platform for new literature to a manifestation of crisis in the face of totalizing rationality. Vis-a-vis modernization's engagement with rationality, The Turkish Novel and the Quest for Rationality reveals unexplored ways of conceptualizing the development of the genre in non-western contexts.

Arab-Jewish Literature

The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story

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Reuven Snir

In Arab-Jewish Literature: The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story, Reuven Snir offers an account of the emergence of the art of the Arabic short story among the Arabized Jews during the 1920s, especially in Iraq and Egypt, its development in the next two decades, until the emigration to Israel after 1948, and the efforts to continue the literary writing in Israeli society, the shift to Hebrew, and its current demise. The stories discussed in the book reflect the various stages of the development of Arab-Jewish identity during the twentieth century and are studied in the relevant updated theoretical and literary contexts. An anthology of sixteen translated stories is also included as an appendix to the book.

Warrior Saints of the Silk Road

Legends of the Qarakhanids

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Jeff Eden

For generations, Central Asian Muslims have told legends of medieval rulers who waged war, died in battle, and achieved sainthood. Among the Uyghurs of East Turkistan (present-day Xinjiang, China), some of the most beloved legends tell of the warrior-saint Satuq Bughra Khan and his descendants, the rulers of the Qarakhanid dynasty. To this day, these tales are recited at the saints' shrines and retold on any occasion.
Warrior Saints of the Silk Road introduces this rich literary tradition, presenting the first complete English translation of the Qarakhanid narrative cycle along with an accessible commentary. At once mesmerizing, moving, and disturbing, these legends are essential texts in Central Asia's religious heritage as well as fine, enduring works of mystical literature.

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Carl Brockelmann

The present English translation reproduces the original German of Carl Brockelmann’s Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur (GAL) as accurately as possible. In the interest of user-friendliness the following emendations have been made in the translation: Personal names are written out in full, except b. for ibn; Brockelmann’s transliteration of Arabic has been adapted to comply with modern standards for English-language publications; modern English equivalents are given for place names, e.g. Damascus, Cairo, Jerusalem, etc.; several erroneous dates have been corrected, and the page references to the two German editions have been retained in the margin, except in the Supplement volumes, where new references to the first two English volumes have been inserted. Supplement volume SIII-ii offers the thee Indices (authors, titles, and Western editors/publishers).

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George Dimitri Sawa

The present volume consists of translated anecdotes, on musicological and socio-cultural topics, from al-Iṣbahānī’s Kitāb al-Aghānī al-Kabīr ( The Grand Book of Songs) with annotations and commentaries. It deals with musical rhythmic and melodic modes, technical terms and treatises; music instruments; composition techniques and processes; education and oral/written transmissions; vocal and instrumental performances and their aesthetics; solo and ensemble music; change and its inevitability; musical and textual improvisations; ṭarab and the acute emotions of joy or grief; medieval dances; social status. Though extracts from The Grand Book of Songs have been translated in European languages since 1816, this work presents a much larger and more comprehensive scope that will benefit musicologists, medievalist and Middle Eastern scholars as well as the general reader.

Jāmī in Regional Contexts

The Reception of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World, ca. 9th/15th-14th/20th Century

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Edited by Thibaut d'Hubert and Alexandre Papas

Jāmī in Regional Contexts: The Reception of ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān Jāmī’s Works in the Islamicate World is the first attempt to present in a comprehensive manner how ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492), a most influential figure in the Persian-speaking world, reshaped the canons of Islamic mysticism, literature and poetry and how, in turn, this new canon prompted the formation of regional traditions. As a result, a renewed geography of intellectual practices emerges as well as questions surrounding authorship and authority in the making of vernacular cultures. Specialists of Persian, Arabic, Chinese, Georgian, Malay, Pashto, Sanskrit, Urdu, Turkish, and Bengali thus provide a unique connected account of the conception and reception of Jāmī’s works throughout the Eurasian continent and maritime Southeast Asia.