By Professor Roger Allen

Roger Allen offers a complete introductory survey of literary texts in Arabic, from their unknown beginnings within the 5th century advert to the current day, and from Islam's sacred textual content, the Qur'an, to well known literature together with The Arabian Nights and a wealth of poetry, narrative prose, drama and feedback. With large quotations in English translation, a chronology and a advisor to additional analyzing, this revised and abridged model of Allen's acclaimed research, The Arabic Literary history (CUP 1998), presents a useful pupil creation to an incredible non-Western literary culture.

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Other family dynasties also controlled large segments of the Iranian region. The year  sees the completion of a process that put an end to effective caliphal power. In the blunt but accurate phrase of Shawqı¯ D · ayf, the caliph was now like a parrot in a cage. The steady diminution of caliphal authority during the three centuries that precede the sack of Baghda¯d by the Mongols in  served to amplify still further the already immense variety of the political and cultural landscape. The Shı¯ ah community had split into a number of groupings according to their beliefs regarding the legitimacy of the Imams who were Alı¯’s successors.

The effect of rain on a desert environment is truly remarkable; the transformations that it brings about are immediate. While water – its presence or absence – was a very practical aspect of life within the desert existence of the earliest poets, it has been a potent image for the modern poet as well, one of fertility, of potential, of revolution. ), devotes a poem to rain (‘Unshu¯dat al-mat·ar’) which evokes the imagery of the earliest poetry in the cause of his country’s liberation: On the night of departure how many tears have we shed, and then, for fear of reproach, pretended it was rain .

Lines of communication between these cities and the central administration in Damascus were long, and it is therefore hardly surprising that these garrisons became the focal points of much debate and unrest. As the Islamic communal structure began to take shape, the dissidence of these two Iraqi cities was converted to more intellectual pursuits, and they became primary centres of learning and intellectual controversy. The area now under Muslim control incorporated within its boundaries a variety of ethnic types, languages, and religious beliefs.

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