Roger Allen provides a comprehensive introductory survey of literary texts in Arabic, from their unknown beginnings in the fifth century AD to the present day. The volume focuses on the major genres of Arabic literature, dealing with Islam's sacred text, the Qur'an, and a wealth of poetry, narrative prose, drama and criticism. Allen reveals the continuities that link the creative output of the present day to the illustrious literary heritage of the past and incorporates an enormously rich body of popular literature typified most famously by The Arabian Nights. The volume is informed by Western critical approaches, but within each chapter the emphasis is on the texts themselves, with extensive quotations in English translation. Reference features include a chronology and a guide to further reading. A revised and abridged version of Allen's acclaimed study, The Arabic Literary Heritage, this book provides an invaluable student introduction to a major non-Western literary tradition.
'In scope, documentation, analysis and argument, Roger Allen's book is a welcome contribution, a masterpiece that deserves the best of scholarly appreciation and the right presence among texts in the field. It is a book that should appear on every reading list for courses and seminars in Arabic studies.' Journal of Arabic Literature 'There are few Arabists whose writings give the impression that they feel thoroughly at home in both classical and modern Arabic literature, and Professor Roger Allen is certainly one of them.' Journal of Islamic Studies