Weaving Words

PDF Download Free Arabic PDF


Al-Muḥassin ibn ʿAlī al-Tanūkhī (32784/93994) lived in Basra and Baghdad. As a judge and man of letters belonging to a family with many connections, he was well placed to record the literary trends of his day. Deliverance Follows Adversity is one of two anthologies he compiled.

Julia Bray became the Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford and a fellow of St. John’s College in 2012, having previously taught at the universities of Manchester, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Paris 8-Vincennes—Saint-Denis. She writes on medieval to early modern Arabic literature, life-writing, and social history. She has contributed to the New Cambridge History of Islam (2010), to Essays in Arabic Literary Biography 1350-1850 (2009), and to cross-cultural studies such as Approaches to the Byzantine Family (2013) and edited Writing and Representation in Medieval Islam (2006). With Wen-chin Ouyang, she edits the monograph series Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature. With Helen Blatherwick, she is editing a special issue of the journal Cultural History on the history of emotions in Arabic.

How can one interact with stories written a thousand years ago? How can one recast their literary aesthetics visually? What we have done in this collection, Weaving Words: Fiction and Fantasy, is choose stories that do not rely on familiar sorts of characterization and construction, the better to highlight their originality. The first part is about setting out on journeys of promise and exploration, criss-crossing between the worlds of high eloquence and fantastical geography. The second part contains stories where the plot and Fate itself are embodied in physical things. In the third part, all the characters are disguised, or shape-shifters. Jana Traboulsi’s distinctive black-and-white illustrations mirror the stories’ unfamiliarity.
This volume offers a taste of the rich Arabic literary heritage. We hope that it will appeal to our readers and become part of their literary consciousness and thought-world. It is the first in a series designed especially for a young audience under the aegis of New York University’s Library of Arabic Literature, which aims to bring the Arabic classics to a wide readership as a source of discovery and personal enrichment.