book cover of Night and Horses and the Desert

Night and Horses and the Desert

(1999)
An Anthology of Classic Arabic Literature
An anthology of stories edited by

 
 
Night and Horses and the Desert reveals the authentic greatness of Classical Arabic literature. Selecting a wide range of Arabic poetry and prose in translation, from the most important and typical texts to the very obscure, Robert Irwin provides an invaluable introduction to the subject.

Spanning the fifth century to the sixteenth, from Afghanistan to Spain, this anthology includes translated excerpts from all the major classics. But some of the pieces selected will be unfamiliar even to specialists in the field -- such as Ibn Washshiyya on the art of poisons, Ibn Marzuban on the superiority of dogs to men, Kushajim's poem on asparagus and the anonymous narrative of the "Battle between Kind Mutton and King Honey." Other selections include Mas'udi's account of a symposium on love, Jahiz in praise of bibliomania, Ibn Hazm on the etiquette of falling in love with slave girls, Maqqari on the terrors of the sea, a low-life shadow-play script by Ibn Daniyal and an ecological fable by the mysterious Brethren of Purity, entitled "The Case of the Animals Against Men in the Court of the King of the Jinn."

Alongside the extracts, Irwin's copious commentary and notes provide an explanatory history of Arabic literature. What were the various genres and to what extent were they constrained by rules? What were the canons of traditional Arabic literary criticism? How were Arabic prose and poetry recited and written down? Irwin explores the literary environments of the desert, the salon, the mosque and the bookshop, as well as providing brief biographies of the caliphs, princesses, warriors, scribes, dandies, and mystics who created such a rich and diverse literary culture.

Although much of the world's great poetry and prose is in Arabic, it is not nearly as well known as it deserves to be. Night and Horses and the Desert gives the English-speaking reader a unique taste of the sheer vitality and depth of the medieval Arab past.


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Hardback Editions

September 2000 : USA Hardback
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Title: Night and Horses and the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 1-58567-064-2 / 978-1-58567-064-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1999 : UK Hardback
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Title: Night And Horses And the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 0-7139-9153-4 / 978-0-7139-9153-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Allen Lane
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

June 2016 : USA Paperback
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Title: Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classic Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 1-4683-1312-6 / 978-1-4683-1312-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2002 : USA Paperback
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Title: Night & Horses & the Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 0-385-72155-2 / 978-0-385-72155-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Anchor
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2000 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Penguin Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 0-14-025721-7 / 978-0-14-025721-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: Night And Horses And the Desert - an Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature
Author(s): Robert Irwin
ISBN: 0-7139-9420-7 / 978-0-7139-9420-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Allen Lane
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU