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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Fall 2007

R S 358 • 1-Intro to Arabic Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45615 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 301

Course Description

This course 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, and Greek). Students will encounter sixteen hundred years of poetry, ballads, essays, and stories. We will focus on literature that is both classical and modern, urban and rural, courtly and folk, as well as religious and secular. Topics will include the Andalusian literature of Spain and the Arabian Nights, as well as literature before and after those periods. Students will study Arabic 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 (Icelandic) 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 fulfill requirements appropriate to their standing, including additional readings and writing a term paper.

Grading Policy

Attendance/Participation 20%, response papers (6) 20%, first paper 30%, and second paper 30%.


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 and One Nights Salih, T Season of Migration to the North Kanafani, G. Men in the Sun,/i>


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