MES 323K • Introduction to Arabic Literature
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course is a survey of Arabic literature in translation from the sixth century to the modern period. It will provide students with a foundation to literature in the Arabic language produced by authors who were ethnically Arab, aas well as non-Arab (Persian, Turkic, Black,and Greek). Students will encounter 1600 years of poetry, ballads, essays, and stories. We will focus on literture that is both classical and and modern, urban and rural, courtly. and folk, as well as, religious and secular. Students will studyArabic literature within the context social and artistic discourses. Moreover, there will be an emphasis on oral performance: Literature in Arab society was not only read it was memorized for public recitation as a part of tradition of ritual preformance and storytelling. i nthis respect, we will examine Arabic oral preformances in the context of 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. No background in Arabo-Islamic culture is required. Graduate students will fullfill course requirements appropriate to their standing.
Two Papers 40% Two Exams 40% Discussion 20%
Sample Texts: Course packets of selected readings Abu-Lughod, Veiled Sentiments; Adonis, An Introduction to Arabic Poetics; Anderson, Imagined Communties; Arberry, Aspects of Islamic Civilization; Bushnaq, Arab folktales; Caton, The Peaks of Yemen I Summon; Haddaway, Arabian Nights; Irwin, Night and Horses and the Desert: An anthology of Classical Arabic Literature; Kritzerck. Anthology of Islamic Literature, from the Rise of Islam to Modern Times; Nagy, poetry as Performance; S. Stetkevych, Mute Immortal Speak: PreIslamic Poetry and the Poetics of Ritual.