The series Studies in Arabic Literature, Supplements to the Journal of Arabic Litrature, founded in 1971, is concerned with all kinds of literary expression in Arabic, including the oral and vernacular traditions, of both the modern and the classical periods.Studies in the series can be literary-historical, analytical or comparative in nature, and can treat of individual works, authors and genres as well as literary traditions in a wider context. Studies dealing with the social, political and philosophical backgrounds of Arabic literature are particularly welcome in the series.
The series comprises monographs, thematic collections of articles, handbooks, textual editions and annotated translations.
Text editions are as a rule accompanied by a translation on facing pages; both text editions and translations should include comprehensive, critical introductions which give a full and proper appreciation of the text or texts in question.
The series published an average of two volumes per year over the last 5 years.
This article addresses poetic form as a foundation bridging the literary contexts of Arabic and Persian that exists beyond the bounds of Euro-American influence. We find the originally Arabic science of ʿarūḍ, prosody, used in these two contexts to retool premodern poetic form for the modern era. Questions of form encourage us to think about how modernist poets writing in Persian and Arabic approach their poetry as a craft that emerges not out of engagements with Western literature but rather from a shared poetic past. By tracing formal links across Arabic and Persian, this article argues that paying attention to the premodern tradition of prosodic science they share helps us both to understand the early development of modernist poetry in each language and to avoid explanations informed mostly by literary critical frameworks used to study Western literatures.
This article analyzes a little-known practice called iqtirāḥ—“test of poetic talent” or “poetic competition”—that proliferated in twentieth-century Persian-language periodicals. It examines two case studies: one in Tehran in 1928, which mythologized Nādir Shah (r. 1736–1747), a Turko-Persian monarch, as a national hero, and one in Kabul in 1932, which eulogized Muḥammad Nādir Shah (r. 1920–1933), a ruling monarch at the time, for restoring an Afghan homeland imagined as unified. The article frames iqtirāḥ as an afterlife of Persianate modes of sociability that were reconfigured by modern periodicals to serve the demands of romantic nationalism in the twentieth century. By critically examining the ways in which poetic composition interacts with the formation of a national historiography, this article also shows that any clear-cut distinction between the two is arbitrary.
This article focuses on late Ottoman/Turkish translations of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat (“quatrains”) as part of Perso-Ottoman poetic connectivity in the early twentieth century. Situating the reception of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat at the nexus of world literature, literary historiography, and translatability, the article explores the methodological affordances of translation to redress the overdominance of discursive and historical points of rupture in studies of late Persianate literatures. To that end, the article offers a comparative reading of Hüseyin Daniş’s Rubaiyat-ı Ömer Hayyam (1927), Rıza Tevfik’s Ömer Hayyam ve Rubaileri (1945), both of which are based on their co-authored translation in 1922, and Mevlevi Mustafa Rüşdi b. Mehmet Tevfik’s translation of Khayyam’s quatrains (1931–32). By way of specific attention to translation as hermeneutics, this article suggests that translating after the Persianate did not involve a straight shift from regional translation practices to translation proper nor was it exclusively a modus operandi of literary and linguistic nationalism. In drawing attention to how translation can accommodate both synchronic and diachronic mobility, the article therefore calls for alternative comparative methodologies which attend to persistent textual practices as well as conjunctural discourses in literary history.
This article discusses the politics of form in ʿAbdullāh al-ʿArwī’s 1989 ʾAwrāq: sīrat Idrīs al-dhihniyyah (Papers: Idrīs’s Intellectual Biography), an important contribution to Moroccan experimental literature in the postcolonial era. Together with Muḥammad Barrādah’s 1987 novel Luʿbat al-nisyān (The Game of Forgetting, 1996), Awrāq consolidated the experimental turn in the Moroccan literary scene, aiding thereby its ascent to the mainstream. ʾAwrāq is a two-layered text, presenting the reader with, first, a stack of papers of various sorts belonging to the diseased protagonist Idrīs, and second, the commentaries on this archive by the narrator and Shuʿayb. The book constantly oscillates between these two layers, attempting in the process to shake the dominant realist form and its underlying European point of reference. ʾAwrāq’s search for its best form parallels Idrīs’s quest to restore, or be reconciled to, his identity in the context of France and Europe’s colonial project and its legacy. The text’s experimentalism is thus strategically harnessed to wrestle, within the diegesis, with various political and sociocultural challenges facing Morocco, and the Arab/Arabo-Amazigh world more broadly, in the postcolonial era—including the colossal task of reconciling the Islamic heritage (al-turāth) with hegemonic Western discourses of modernity.