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  • Author or Editor: Marcel Kurpershoek x
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The Legend of Šlēwīḥ al-‘Aṭāwi and other ‘Utaybah Heroes. An Edition with Translation and Introduction
The Story of a Desert Knight is the second volume of a trilogy entitled Oral Poetry and Narratives from Central Arabia. It is devoted to the narratives told about and the poems composed by Šlēwīḥ al-‘Aṭāwi and his brother Bxīt, both famous desert knights in the middle and second half of the nineteenth century. The principal source of this book is Šlēwīḥ's great-grandson Xālid, a sheikh of the ‘Utaybah tribe.
The introduction discusses inter alia the general characteristics of Bedouin oral culture, the linguistic, prosodic and stylistic features of the text, and Xālid's use of his ancestors' oral legacy in order to enhance his position in the tribal hierarchy of prestige. In addition to the translation of the oral text this volume offers a complete transcription, based on taped records and including variants found in published Saudi sources, and a substantial glossary.
A Bedouin Bard in Southern Najd. An Edition with Translation and Introduction
This work presents the complete collection of oral poetry by ad-Dindān, a bedouin poet of the Duwāsir tribe in southern Najd, transcribed and translated on the basis of taped recordings. The text is representative of a poetic tradition which has remained remarkably close to the desert poetry of the early classical age. An extensive glossary, including detailed cross-references to the classical Arabic vocabulary, completes this edition.
The introduction describes Dindān's somewhat anomalous position in local society as a result of his stubborn attachment to nomadism, his fierce artistic temper, and his unreconstructed bedouin ethos. It also discusses the composition of oral poetry, the dīwān's themes and its place in the Najdi tradition, the impact of literacy on the poet's oral work, and the prosodic and linguistic features of the text.
This third volume in the author's series Oral Poetry & Narratives from Central Arabia presents and analyses the work of four contemporary Bedouin poets of the Dawāsir tribe in southern Najd. The introductory part discusses the poetry within the context of the Najdi oral tradition, the poets' role in tribal society, and their mirroring of this society's self-image against the background of its rapid economic, social and political transformation, and its relation with the Saudi State.
It is followed by the Arabic Text of the poems in transcription, based on taped records, with the English translation on the facing page. This is complemented by a substantial glossary, cross-referenced to the Arabic Text, other glossaries and works on the Najdi dialect and poetic idiom, as well as corresponding Classical Arabic lexical materials.
Voices from the Desert is the fifth and concluding volume of P. Marcel Kurpershoek’s Corpus Oral Poetry & Narratives from Central Arabia. The first volume appeared in 1994.
In the Preface the author looks back on his almost twenty years of involvement with Arabian oral culture. He also discusses some of the striking features of the traditions collected in these volumes, and their significance within the broader political, social, and cultural context of the tribal system stretching from Yemen to the Anatolian highlands.
An Introduction is followed by a consolidated Glossary, comprising all data accumulated and integrated from the glossaries of the previous four volumes. This elaborate glossary not only refers to the transcribed original texts in Volumes 1-4, but it has also been extended with many examples originating from corresponding Classical Arabic vocabulary, and additional Western sources.
Also included are the three indispensable indices to the complete Corpus: the Index of Subjects, the Index of Tribal Names and the Index of Proper Names. A List of Recordings completes this volume. The original recordings of the poets and transmitters, in the order of the published text with a description of the tracks’ contents, can be downloaded as MP3 files from Brill’s web site at