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Earthen Architecture in Muslim Cultures

Historical and Anthropological Perspectives

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Edited by Stéphane Pradines

This edited volume follows the panel “Earth in Islamic Architecture” organised for the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) in Ankara, on the 19th of August 2014. Earthen architecture is well-known among archaeologists and anthropologists whose work extends from Central Asia to Spain, including Africa. However, little collective attention has been paid to earthen architecture within Muslim cultures. This book endeavours to share knowledge and methods of different disciplines such as history, anthropology, archaeology and architecture. Its objective is to establish a link between historical and archaeological studies given that Muslim cultures cannot be dissociated from social history.

Contributors: Marinella Arena; Mounia Chekhab-Abudaya; Christian Darles; François-Xavier Fauvelle; Elizabeth Golden; Moritz Kinzel; Rolando Melo da Rosa; Atri Hatef Naiemi; Bertrand Poissonnier; Stéphane Pradines; Paola Raffa and Paul D. Wordsworth.

The Arabic-Ethiopic Glossary by al-Malik al-Afḍal

An Annotated Edition with a Linguistic Introduction and a Lexical Index

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Maria Bulakh and Leonid Kogan

The Arabic-Ethiopic Glossary by al-Malik al-Afḍal by Maria Bulakh and Leonid Kogan is a detailed annotated edition of a unique monument of Late Medieval Arabic lexicography, comprising 475 Arabic lexemes (some of them post-classical Yemeni dialectisms) translated into several Ethiopian idioms and put down in Arabic letters in a late-fourteenth century manuscript from a codex in a private Yemeni collection. For the many languages involved, the Glossary provides the earliest written records, by several centuries pre-dating the most ancient attestations known so far. The edition, preceded by a comprehensive linguistic introduction, gives a full account of the comparative material from all known Ethiopian Semitic languages. A detailed index ensures the reader’s orientation in the lexical treasures revealed from the Glossary.

The Politics of Adaptation

Contemporary African Drama and Greek Tragedy

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Astrid Van Weyenberg

This book explores contemporary African adaptations of classical Greek tragedies. Six South African and Nigerian dramatic texts – by Yael Farber, Mark Fleishman, Athol Fugard, Femi Osofisan, and Wole Soyinka – are analysed through the thematic lens of resistance, revolution, reconciliation, and mourning.
The opening chapters focus on plays that mobilize Greek tragedy to inspire political change, discussing how Sophocles’ heroine Antigone is reconfigured as a freedom fighter and how Euripides’ Dionysos is transformed into a revolutionary leader.
The later chapters shift the focus to plays that explore the costs and consequences of political change, examining how the cycle of violence dramatized in Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy acquires relevance in post-apartheid South Africa, and how the mourning of Euripides’ Trojan Women resonates in and beyond Nigeria.
Throughout, the emphasis is on how playwrights, through adaptation, perform a cultural politics directed at the Europe that has traditionally considered ancient Greece as its property, foundation, and legitimization. Van Weyenberg additionally discusses how contemporary African reworkings of Greek tragedies invite us to reconsider how we think about the genre of tragedy and about the cultural process of adaptation.
Against George Steiner’s famous claim that tragedy has died, this book demonstrates that Greek tragedy holds relevance today. But it also reveals that adaptations do more than simply keeping the texts they draw on alive: through adaptation, playwrights open up a space for politics. In this dynamic between adaptation and pre-text, the politics of adaptation is performed.

"The Original Explosion That Created Worlds"

Essays on Werewere Liking’s Art and Writings

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Edited by John Conteh-Morgan and Irène Assiba d'Almeida

“The Original Explosion That Created Worlds” is the first book entirely devoted to the Cameroonian Werewere Liking, one of the most important writers and innovative artists of post-colonial Africa. The book includes a wide-ranging collection of essays by some of Liking’s finest critics addressing her life and work, from her earlier fiction and social criticism to her later experimental drama, which has been produced on stages around the world. Several essays also look at Liking’s culture-based entrepreneurial work, in which she has attempted to establish a new economic support for African artistic expression.
Liking’s excellent but little-known poetry and art criticism, her iconoclastic novels and essays are all the subject of close critical attention in particular studies. There is also consideration of the challenges that her original language and fictional forms present to a literary translator. Liking’s work has provoked an extensive commentary, in the popular press as well as in scholarly journals and her critical reception both inside and outside of Africa is carefully examined. The final important inclusions are two plays by Liking published here for the first time in English translations– Liquid Heroes and This Africa of ours...
“The Original Explosion That Created Worlds”: Essays on Werewere Liking’s Art and Writings may serve as an introduction to the work of one of Africa’s most important contemporary artists and one of the most astute commentators on the position of Africa in the new century. To those already familiar with Liking’s novels, poetry, plays, criticism or other cultural work it offers an expanded and deepened understanding of her working contexts and the amazing reach of her cultural expression. The book is of necessary interest to all readers, students, and scholars of postcolonial African literatures, of translation studies, and of gender issues.