Erotica, Love and Humor in Arabia

Spicy Stories from The Book of Songs by al-Isfahani


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About the Book

The Book of Songs of Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani (AD 897–971) is the most extensive collection of anecdotes from pre–Islam Mecca, Medina, Damascus and Baghdad to the beginning of the tenth century. Entertaining and informative, these gems have remained largely inaccessible to Western readers. This translation presents a collection of love stories and poems, biting satires, daring erotic encounters, bathroom humor and hilariously detailed descriptions of feminine beauty, genitalia, sex toys and sex positions, along with stories praising and criticizing both homosexuality and heterosexuality—topics that set the tone for the Arabian Nights centuries later.

About the Author(s)

George Dimitri Sawa has written 50 articles and four books and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and York University. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani

Translated and Edited by George Dimitri Sawa

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 172
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6365-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2510-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I. Sex, Entertainment and Beauty
One. Penis and Vagina 9
Two. Sexual Acts 29
Three. Good Sex, Bad Sex, Erectile Dysfunction and Atrophy 33
Four. Farting 43
Five. Pissing 51
Six. Humor 53
Seven. Satire 69
Eight. Beautiful Women 81
Nine. Big Ass, Small Ass, Big Tits 90
Ten. Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, Bisexuality 94

Part II. Love Stories and Poems
Eleven. Flirtatious and Amorous Love Stories and Poems 105
Twelve. Genuine Love Stories and Poems 116
Thirteen. Heartbreaking Love Stories and Poems 123

Chapter Notes 149
Bibliography 151
Index 153

Book Reviews & Awards

“A special treat for Middle Eastern collections looking for a little spice”—Library Journal