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January 20 , 2009

Desert Songs of the Night

1500 Years of Arabic Literature


A unique and extraordinary collection, Desert Songs of the Night presents some of the finest poetry and prose by Arab writers, from the Arab East to Andalusia, over the last 1,500 years. From the mystical imagery of the Qur’an and the colourful stories of The Thousand and One Nights, to the powerful verses of longing of Mahmoud Darwish and Nazik al-Mala’ika, this captivating collection includes translated excerpts of works by the major authors of the period, as well as by lesser known writers of equal significance. Desert Songs of the Night showcases the vibrant and distinctive literary heritage of the Arabs. Beautifully produced, this is the ideal book for lovers of world literature and for those who seek an acquaintance with gems of Arab thought and expression. ‘Desert Songs of the Night is a wonderful introduction to fifteen centuries of a literature still largely unknown in the West, without which much of our civilizations would not have developed as they have, from the rediscovery of Aristotle by Arab commentators to the lyric poetry of Europe, from the magical world of the Arabian Nights to the modern revolutionary poets of Palestine. Absolutely essential reading for our troubled times.’ Alberto Manguel ‘At a time when the world is obsessing about violence and bloodletting in the Arab world, this remarkable anthology, which spans 1,500 years of Arab literary genius, is a stark reminder of the untold story we keep missing about the region.’ Hanan al-Shaykh
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