Oral Poetry and Narratives from Central Arabia, Volume 4 Saudi Tribal History

Honour and Faith in the Traditions of the Dawāsir


A Saudi Tribal History, the fourth volume of the author's series Oral Poetry and Narratives from Central Arabia, presents and analyses the oral traditions of the Dawāsir tribal confederation in the area of Wādi ad-Dawāsir, south of Riyadh. The introduction focusses on the tribe's self-image and its symbiosis of Bedouin and sedentary strains; its internal social relations and its place in the surrounding tribal world; the impact of the Wahhābi movement and the Saudi state's historical efforts to control the tribes; and the store of legends that continues to shape its collective consciousness. It is followed by the Arabic text of the poems and narratives in transcription, based on taped records, with the English translation on the facing page. This is complimented by an extensive glossary, cross-referenced to the Arabic text.

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P. Marcel Kurpershoek is a member of the Netherlands Foreign Service and Professor for Politics and Literature in the Arab World at Leiden University. In addition to his scholarly work he has published a travelogue, Arabia of the Bedouins (Saqi Books, 2001).
"…a superb piece of work…" – Clive Holes, in: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 2004 "...this solid academic work represents a remarkable effort of a fully dedicated and able scholar." – Ḍirghᾱm Ḥ. Sbait, in: Asian Folklore Studies, 2003