A Cultural History of the Arabic Language


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About the Book

This history of literary Arabic describes the evolution of Arabic poetry and prose in the context of music, ritual performance, the arts and architecture. The thousands-of-years-old language is perhaps more highly developed and refined than any other on earth.
This book focuses on what is unique about Arabic compared to other major languages of the world (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English and Spanish) and how the distinct characteristics of Arabic took shape at various points in its history. The book provides a cultural background for understanding social and political institutions and religious beliefs—more influenced by the rhythms and depths of poetic language than other cultures—in the Middle East today.

About the Author(s)

Sharron Gu, the author of several books in international law, has traveled the world for thirty years to research different cultures and languages. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Sharron Gu
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 288
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7059-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0294-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 4

Part One: The Sound and Rhythm of Poetry 15

1. Music and Poetry Before Arabic 18

2. Recording the Sound of Poetry 48

3. Rhythm from Poetry, to Prose, to Speech 83

Part Two: The Formation of Arabic Imagery 113

4. Imagery of the World: Poetry and Prose 115

5. Imagery of the Universe: Arts and Literature 145

6. Imagery of Man and His Feelings 175

7. The World in Arabic Fiction 203

Conclusion 228

Chapter Notes 231

Bibliography 238

Index 277