This history of literary Arabic describes the evolution of Arabic poetry and prose in the context of music, ritual performance, the arts and architecture. The thousands-of-years-old language is perhaps more highly developed and refined than any other on earth. This book focuses on what is unique about Arabic compared to other major languages of the world (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English and Spanish) and how the distinct characteristics of Arabic took shape at various points in its history. The book provides a cultural background for understanding social and political institutions and religious beliefs – more influenced by the rhythms and depths of poetic language than other cultures – in the Middle East today.
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