Tales of Juha: classic Arab folk humor
Juha is an old Arab comic literary figure around whom countless anecdotes were written. He appears variously as preacher and beggar, thief and honest man, judge and social critic, Jester and charlatan. While the subject matter is Arab or otherwise Islamic, the humor transcends national and cultural boundaries.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This brief book - easily read in an evening -- collects translated versions of various jokes and short folktales about the Arabic trickster/ character Juha. The collection is edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, which is what initially brought me to it - she's edited a long list of other excellent anthologies. She has a short introduction explaining how the book came to be; another introduction unfortunately focuses fruitlessly on the nature of the humor in the stories - humor is almost always pointless to analyse, especially when one is just about to show it directly -- and the introduction largely neglects to provide much insight into the cultural context for Juha stories. According to Wikipedia the character features in stories from across the Arabic-speaking world, and has become entangled with the originally-distinct Turkish or Persian figure of Nasreddin. Some of the stories will be familiar to an American reader, such as the one about looking for a lost object in a totally different place than where it was lost, because the light was bad where it was lost. Some of the stories are painfully misogynistic; some are just heartless, laughing at a sucker's pain or misfortune. But a number are laugh out loud funny, and many certainly draw a chuckle or a smirk -- and invite reuse. Alas, I don't remember stories like this easily, and so am unlikely to have them on call when the perfect moment arises. One of my favorites (and one of the shortest) [p.88]: "One day people heard [Juha] running along and singing. 'What's all this about?' they asked him. 'This running and singing?' 'I like to listen to my own voice from a distance', he told them. And another [p.49]: Juha and his son were standing alongside as a funeral procession passed. The widow was lamenting, and addressing her dead husband. 'They're taking you,' she said, 'to a place where there's no bed, or cover, or carpet, or food, or water.' 'By Almighty God, father,' Juha's son said, 'it's our house they're going to!'
Review: Tales of Juha: Classic Arab Folk Humor (International Folk Tales)User Review - Goodreads
This brief book - easily read in an evening -- collects translated versions of various jokes and short folktales about the Arabic trickster/ character Juha. The collection is edited by Salma Khadra ...