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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Introduction to Classical Arabic Literature

Course Code:
155901236
Unit value:
1
Taught in:
Full Year
This is a text-based course for second year students. It has a twofold purpose: to acquaint students with classical Arabic literary writings, and to familiarise them with the history and development of classical Arabic culture and literature and the sources for their study.

Prerequisites

Successful completion of Arabic 1 or equivalent standard.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

This is a text-based course which aims at fulfilling a twofold purpose: to acquaint students with classical Arabic literary writing and familiarize students with the history and development of Classical Arabic culture and literature and the sources for their study.

Workload

Total of 22 weeks teaching with 2 hours of lectures per week.

Scope and syllabus

Texts covered include selections from 9th-10th Century adab collections, medieval storytelling and poetry. A detailed syllabus is available from the convenor.

Method of assessment

One book review of 2500-3000 words and one essay of 2500-3000 words, due in the second week of Term 2 and the second week of Term 3 respectively (together 30% of the final mark). One three-hour written exam paper in May-June (70%).

Suggested reading

I. Essential Tools: 

References on language and grammar (all available on the Islamic Middle East reference shelves in the library)

a) Dictionaries and Lexicons:
  • Cachia, Pierre. The Monitor: A Dictionary of Arabic Grammatical Terms.
  • Dozy. Dictionnaires Arabes (for French speakers) 
  • Hava. Al-Faraid: Arabic-English Dictionary.
  • Lane, W. Arabic-English Lexicon.
b) Manuals of Arabic Grammar: 
  • Cowan, David. An Introduction to Modern Literary Arabic. 
  • Wright, W. A Grammar of the Arabic Language. 
c) Manual of Style: 
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
II. General References: 
  • Beeston, A. F. (ed.). Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period. 
  • Ashtiany, J. (ed.). Abbasid Belles-Lettres. 
  • Young, M. J. L. et al (eds). Religion, Learning and Science in the Abbasid Period. 
  • Encyclopaedia of Arabic Literature. 
  • Encyclopaedia of Islam (new edition). 
III. Required Texts: 
  • Allen, Roger. The Arabic Literary Heritage.
  • Gibb, Hamilton. Arabic Literature: An Introduction. 
  • Haywood, John. Arabic Lexicography. 
  • Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. 
  • Makdisi, George. The Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West. 
  • Makdisi, George. The Rise of Humanism in classical Islam and the Christian West. 
  • Monroe, James T. The Art of Badi’ al-Zaman al-Hamadhani as Picaresque Narrative. 
  • Pellat, Charles. The Life and Works of Jahiz.