MES 381 • INTRODUCTION TO ARABIC LITERATURE
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This is a survey of Arabic literature from the sixth century to the modern period. All texts are in English translation. It will provide students with a foundation to literature in the Arabic language produced by authors who were ethnically Arab, as well as non-Arab (Persian, Turkic, Black, & Greek). Students will encounter sixteen hundred years of poetry, ballads, essays, and stories. We will focus on literature both classical and modern, urban and rural, courtly and folk, and religious and secular. Topics include Andalusian literature of Spain and the Arabian Nights, as well literature before and after those periods. Students will study Arabic literature within the context of social and artistic discourses. Moreover, there will be an emphasis on oral performance: literature in Arab society was not only read, but memorized for public recitation as part of a tradition of ritual performance and storytelling. In this respect, we will examine Arabic oral performances compared to Homeric epic and Skaldic poetry. Students will gain an understanding of the literary work from an "ethnopoetic" perspective, not as words on the page, but as "cultural practice" that both reflects and shapes society.
Undergrad: 2 papers, 6 response papers, regular readings & discussion. Attendance/Participation 20%, Response Papers 20%, 1st Paper 30%, 2nd Paper 30%
Graduate: Term paper proposal, term paper, 6 response papers, regular readings & discussion. Attendance/Participation 20%, Response Papers 20%, Paper Proposal 20%, Term Paper 40%
Irwin, R. Night and Horses and The Desert. Sells, M. Desert Tracings: Six Classic Arabian Odes Sells, M. Approaching the Qur'an Franzen, C. Poems of Arab Andalusia. Dawood, N. J. Tales from a Thousand & One Nights. Salih, T. Season of Migration to the North Kanafani, G. Men in the Sun