This book fills a long-standing gap in Arabic-Islamic studies. Following the informative and entertaining style of
adab literature and based on a large number of relevant sources from a wide range of genres, Hasan Shuraydi presents a panoramic view of relevant themes that concern youth and old age in Medieval Arabic literature intended for both specialists and non-specialists. A pattern of binary oppositions runs through such themes, e.g., black/white, male/female, husband/wife, sacred/profane, paradise/this world, ignorance/wisdom, past/present, young/old, new/old, health/disease, sappy/dry, permitted/forbidden, lust/chastity, obedience/disobedience, experience/inexperience, folly/reason, sobriety/intoxication, parent/child, celibacy/marriage, present life/hereafter. Themes discussed include: aging, ambition, aphrodisiacs, beauty, education, feminist trends, hair dyeing, homosexuality, honoring age, jihad, life stages, longevity, love, marriage, sex.
Hasan Shuraydi, Ph.D. (1970) in Arabic-Islamic studies, Yale University. He had a career in translation/revision at the United Nations in NY and Geneva. He developed a less constrained style that suits such an apropos subject and targets a wide readership.
"[This book] is done with great love, sympathy, and understanding, and the language, English though it is, is commensurate. It gives a wonderfully realistic view of the people and society which produced these sentiments in prose and poetry. We complained that such a book on youth and old age in Arabic did not exist--now it does. Rosenthal would have been proud of it, no doubt, and perhaps also a bit jealous."
“.. the volume lives up to Rosenthal's masterpieces... This beautifully written volume will be easier reading for those familiar with Arabic writers and literature, but it is worth the effort for those who are not. Summing up: Recommended.”
S. Ward in
Choice53.3 (November 2015)
“…ein schönes Buch, das wohl auch Rosenthal gefallen hätte.”
Ewald Wagner in
Der Islam 94.1 (2017), 304-308.
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Toward a Definition of the Ages of Man
Chapter 2: The Age of Beauty
Chapter 3: Youthful Pleasures and Repentance
Chapter 4: Lament for Lost Youth
Chapter 5: Intellectual Pursuits
Chapter 6: Code of Conduct
Chapter 7: Marriage and Sexuality
Chapter 8: Religio-Political Leadership and the Promise of Paradise
Chapter 9: Rejuvenation and Paradisiacal Youth
Appendix A: Rhetorical Devices
Appendix B: Monographs Apparently Lost
Academic libraries, public libraries, anthropologists, Arabists, historians, islamists, sociologists, feminists, sexologists, gerontologists, literary critics, medievalists, pedagogists, rhetoricians, students of Arab-Islamic studies, and anyone interested in youth and old age.