Desert Songs of the Night

Desert Songs of the Night

1500 Years of Arabic Literature

9780863561757 August 2015 Paperback 480pp

About the Book

A unique and extraordinary collection, Desert Songs of the Night presents some of the finest poetry and prose by Arab writers, from the Arab East to Andalusia, over the last 1,500 years.

From the mystical imagery of the Qur’an and the colourful stories of The Thousand and One Nights, to the powerful verses of longing of Mahmoud Darwish and Nazik al-Mala’ika, this captivating collection includes translated excerpts of works by the major authors of the period, as well as by lesser known writers of equal significance.

Desert Songs of the Night showcases the vibrant and distinctive literary heritage of the Arabs. Beautifully produced, this is the ideal book for lovers of world literature and for those who seek an acquaintance with gems of Arab thought and expression.

About the Contributors

James M. Malarkey is a specialist on Middle Eastern and North African affairs. The Chair of Humanities and General Education at Antioch University Midwest, Malarkey has taught Anthropology at Antioch College, Cultural Studies at the American University of Beirut, Linguistics at the University of Constantine, Algeria, as well as World Classics at Antioch University McGregor.

Suheil Bushrui is a distinguished author, poet, critic and translator, particularly revered as an authority on the works of W. B. Yeats and Kahlil Gibran. A university professor for the last 56 years, Bushrui has taught at universities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. He is currently the Emeritus Professor and first incumbent of the George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace at the University of Maryland, where he is also a Senior Scholar of Peace with the Center for International Development and Conflict Management. The recipient of many awards, Bushrui’s publications are extensive in both English and Arabic, and include Desert Songs of the Night: 1500 Years of Arabic Literature, The Wisdom of the Arabs, The Prophet: A New Annotated Edition and The Spiritual Heritage of the Human Race.


'Desert Songs of the Night is a wonderful introduction to fifteen centuries of a literature still largely unknown in the West, without which much of our civilizations would not have developed as they have, from the rediscovery of Aristotle by Arab commentators to the lyric poetry of Europe, from the magical world of the Arabian Nights to the modern revolutionary poets of Palestine. Absolutely essential reading for our troubled times.'
Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading

'At a time when the world is obsessing about violence and bloodletting in the Arab world, this remarkable anthology, which spans 1,500 years of Arab literary genius, is a stark reminder of the real story we keep missing about the region.'
Hanan al-Shaykh, author of One Thousand and One Nights

'This is a beautiful-looking book and inside the romance and beauty continue ... a valuable volume'
Sunday Herald

‘An arresting collection … Dipping into this enchanting anthology one is struck by the sheer variety of voices that have emerged from the Arab world … Hopefully, Desert Songs of the Night should inspire more English-speakers to study this wonderful language and render afresh its magnificent literary heritage.’
Daily Telegraph, 4 Stars