This book is the first to survey a branch of Arabic folk literature virtually unknown in the West. Cachia, an academic Arabist who has spent many years in Egypt, first records basic facts about the development of the art of narrative balladry, its practitioners, and their styles and priorities. He then presents numerous integral texts of ballads, meticulously transcribed and translated, ranging from erotic tales, to fables, religious legends, and accounts of contemporary events. A graphic demonstration of elite are reflected in the art of the masses, this book will interest linguists, literary historians, folklorists, and social and political scientists.
'Professor Cachia's perceptions can always be counted on to blaze new trails ... Cachia's work is the most extensive and the most competent on the Egyptian ballad that we have.'
Jareer Aby-Haidar, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
'well-produced book ... a pioneer study, in that it publishes hitherto unknown material in colloquial Egyptian Arabic'
H.T. Norris, SOAS Bulletin
Transcription of colloquial Arabic texts. Part 1 A survey: popular literature - a tentative survey; facts - the beginnings and outlets of the narrative ballad; facts - themes and forms; facts - balladmongers; inferences - composition and transmission; linguistic and literary characteristics; underlying social values; lines of demarcation; concluding generalizations. Appendix: a musicologist's description of three narrative ballads. Part 2 An anthology: an erotic tale - "In Izbikiyya"; a fable - "The Snare and the Sparrow"; Muslim scriptural stories - "The Story of God's Prophet Adam, on whom be Peace", "The Lady Mary"; a Christian scriptural story - "O Radiant Night"; an Islamic legend - "The Story of the Beduin" or "The Camel's Utterance"; a Muslim saint - "Ghareeb"; a Christian saint - "St George the Roman"; a political event - "Danshaway I and II"; a contemporary event - "The New Era"; honour crimes - "Mitwalli", "The Girgawi Affair", "Hasan and Naeema". Glossary. Bibliography. Index.