Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī and His Yatīmat al-dahr
Author: Bilal Orfali
Why did premodern authors in the Arabic-Islamic culture compile literary anthologies, and why were these works remarkably popular? How can an anthology that consists of reproduced material be original and creative, and serve various literary and political ends? How did anthologists select their material, then record and arrange it?

This book examines the life and works of Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (350–429/961–1039), an eminent anthologist from Nīshāpūr, paying special attention to his magnum opus, Yatīmat al-dahr ( The Unique Pearl), and its sequel, Tatimmat al-Yatīma ( The Completion of the Yatīma). This book is a direct window on to an anthologist’s workshop in the second half of the fourth/tenth century. It examines the methodological consciousness expressed in Thaʿālibī’s selection and arrangement, and his sophisticated system of internal references and cross-references to other works; how he selected from his contemporaries’ oeuvres; how he sought, recorded, memorized, misplaced, and sometimes lost or forgot his selections; how he scrutinized the authenticity of material, accepting, questioning, or rejecting its attribution; and the errors and inconsistencies that resulted from this process.
Studies Presented to Ramzi Baalbaki on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday
Editor: Bilal Orfali
The collection of articles in this volume is dedicated to Ramzi Baalbaki of the American University of Beirut on the occasion of his 60th birthday. The volume reflects the central themes of Ramzi Baalbaki’s scholarly work: history of Arabic grammar, Arabic lexicography, Arabic linguistics, comparative Semitics, Arabic epigraphy, and textual editing of classical texts. It provides intellectual, literary, and social historians, as well as Arabists, philologists, and linguists with an interesting glimpse into the early medieval and modern traditions related to the Arabic language, its grammar, historical development, and demonstrates its centrality to other fields of study such as Qur’ānic studies, adab, folk literature, sufism, and poetry.

Contributors include: Nadia Anghelescu, Georgine Ayoub, Aziz Azmeh, Monique Bernards, Georges Bohas, Gerhard Böwering, Michael Carter, Everhard Ditters, Geert Jan van Gelder, Hassan Hamzé, Peter Heath, Pierre Larcher, Ibrahim Ben Mrad, Bilal Orfali, Wadād al-Qāḍī, Angelika Neuwirth, Karin Ryding, Yasir Suleiman, Kees Versteegh, and David Wilmsen
Author: Bilal Orfali

Abstract

There have been several attempts in modern scholarship to reconstruct the lost dīwān of Abū Mansūr al-Tālibī (350-429/961-1038 or 9). This article is an addendum to this dīwān that collects verses that were overlooked by previous scholarship or selected from recently published anthologies contemporary to al-Tālibī. It also sheds light on al-Tālibī's minor literary character, i.e. being a poet, and offers some observations on his poetry in general.

In: Arabica
Author: Bilal Orfali

Abstract

This article deals with the oeuvre of Abū Mansūr al-Tha'ālibī, a prominent literary figure of the Eastern part of the Islamic world in the 4th/10th century. It deals with some of the literary and social issues that led to the numerous problems of false attribution and duplication in his bibliography, such as patronage and the periodical reworking of his books. This is followed by an up-to-date bibliography for al-Tha'ālibī, based on archives, primary sources and secondary literature. Works in print and manuscript form are assessed as to their authenticity and content, including bibliographical information on published works and locations of manuscripts. A further list reunites lost works and those surviving in quotations with references to the extant passages.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Author: Bilal Orfali

Abstract

This article provides a sketch map of Arabic poetry anthologies up to the fall of Baghdad in 759/1258 by grouping titles that share general characteristics in form or content, or exhibit specific goals and aspirations. The purpose is to provide an analytic framework to the study of this type of literature. With its ten categories, the map allows for the inclusion of new or previously overlooked anthologies. The map is introduced by a survey of the state of scholarship on the terms adab and anthology within the scope of classical Arabic literature, and highlights a number of the main approaches to the study of Arabic literary anthology in recent scholarship. The article also suggests some authorial motives behind the genesis, development, and popularity of this type of literature.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
In: In the Shadow of Arabic: The Centrality of Language to Arabic Culture