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With this anthology, distinguished Arabist Geert Jan van Gelder brings together well-known texts as well as less familiar pieces new even to scholars. Classical Arabic Literature reveals the rich variety of pre-modern Arabic social and cultural life, where secular texts flourished alongside religious ones. This masterful anthology introduces this vibrant literary heritage including pieces translated into English for the first time to a wide spectrum of new readers. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Library of Arabic Literature.

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Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Classical Arabic Literature , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Classical Arabic Literature. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 15, Nathan "N. What a great time to be reading or anticipating reading classical literature!!!! To say nothing of some recently new translations of those SIX Chinese classical novels the Plum finally completed in five volumes!

View all 3 comments. Oct 07, Tatyana rated it it was amazing. I watched the stars, though it was not my task to watch; at times I wrapped myself in my remaining rags. S "The crescent moon appeared to us like half a necklace on the neck of a woman dressed in blue. She fills the eye with beauty, then her voice delights me, so melodious, no loud lowing noise!

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It bore this patiently, victoriously gaining the pleasure of seeing you" - Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz — Mahdi rated it really liked it Dec 05, Persian culture was by no means restricted to Iran itself. Northwestern India and what is now Pakistan became a centre of Islamic literature as early as the 11th century, with Delhi and Agra being of special importance. It was to remain a stronghold of Muslim cultural life, which soon also extended to the east Bengal and south Deccan.

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Persian remained the official language of Muslim India until , and not only its poetry but even its historiography was written in the high-flown manner that exemplified the Persian concept of fine style. Muslim India can further boast a fine heritage of Arabic poetry and prose theological, philosophical, and mystical works. The princes surrounded themselves with a military aristocracy of mainly Turkish extraction, and a few poetical and prose works in Turkish were thus written at some Indian courts.

In various regions of the subcontinent an extremely pleasing folk literature has flourished throughout the ages: Sindhi in the lower Indus Valley , for example, and Punjabi in the Punjab are languages rich in an emotional poetry that uses popular metres and forms. At the Indo-Iranian border the oldest fragments of the powerful Pashto poetry date from the Middle Ages.


The neighbouring Balochi poetry consists largely of ballads and religious folk songs. All the peoples in this area have interpreted Islamic mysticism in their own simple, touching imagery. In the east of the subcontinent Bengali Muslims possess a large Islamic literary heritage , including religious epics from the 14th and 15th centuries and some lovely religious folk songs. The achievements of modern novelists and lyric poets from Bangladesh are impressive.

As a result of the spread of Islam to the north in the 14th century, a number of classical themes in Islamic lore were elaborated in Kashmiri lyric and epic poetry. To the south an occasional piece of Islamic religious poetry can be found even in Tamil and Malayalam. Some fine Muslim short stories have been produced in modern Malayalam. Urdu , now the chief literary language of Muslim India and Pakistan, borrowed heavily from Persian literature during its classical period in the 18th century. In many writings only the verbs are in Urdu, the rest consisting of Persian constructions and vocabulary, and the themes of traditional Urdu literature were often adapted from Persian.

Modern Urdu prose, however, has freed itself almost completely from the past, whereas in poetry promising steps have been taken toward modernization of both forms and content see South Asian arts: Islamic literatures and Modern period. Like classical Urdu, it was heavily influenced by Persian in metrics and vocabulary. On the other hand, a rich and moving folk poetry in popular syllable-counting metres has always flourished among the Turkish population of Anatolia and Rumelia.

The mystical songs of the poet Yunus Emre died c. From this folk tradition, as well as from Western literature , modern Turkish literature has derived a great deal of its inspiration. Its main cultural centres Samarkand , Bukhara , Fergana became part of the Muslim empire after About the collection Our collections include material held by the British Museum prior to and acquisitions made since then, together with the collections of the India Office Library which were transferred to the British Library in What is available online?

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Arabic Classical Accounts of India and China

Further information Useful reference resources include: Brockelmann online Islamic manuscripts , Professor J. How to guides Find Persian manuscripts Details of Persian manuscripts are to be found in a number of catalogues. Find Arabic manuscripts Details of Arabic manuscripts are to be found in a number of catalogues. Find Hebrew manuscripts Guide to finding Hebrew manuscripts in our online catalogues.