Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew Poems
Princeton University Press, 2001 - Poetry - 222 pages
Bernard Lewis, one of the world's greatest authorities on the region's culture and history, offers a work of startling beauty that leaves no doubt as to why such poets were courted by kings in their day. Like those in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the poems here--as ensured by Lewis's mastery of all the source languages and his impeccable style and taste--come fully alive in English. They are surprising and sensuous, disarmingly witty and frank. They provide a fascinating and unusual glimpse into Middle Eastern history. Above all, they are a pleasure to read.They range from panegyric and satire to religious poetry and lyrics about wine, women, and love. Lewis begins with an introduction on the place of poets and poetry in Middle Eastern history and concludes with biographical notes on all the poets.
This treasure trove of verse is aptly summed up by a quote from the ninth-century Arab author Ibn Qutayba: "Poetry is the mine of knowledge of the Arabs, the book of their wisdom, the muster roll of their history, the repository of their great days, the rampart protecting their heritage, the trench defending their glories, the truthful witness on the day of dispute, the final proof at the time of argument."
In one hand the Qur'vn, in the other a wineglass,
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Music of a distant drum: classical arabic, persian, turkish, and hebrew poemsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Edited and translated by Lewis, a well-known scholar of Arabic culture, this collection of 132 "classical" Middle Eastern poems dating from the seventh to the 18th centuries reveals the extensive ... Read full review