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The Epistle of Forgiveness

Al-Ma'Arri, Abu L-Ala'; Schoeler, Gregor

Published by New York University Press
ISBN 10: 0814763782 / ISBN 13: 9780814763780
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Epistle of Forgiveness

Publisher: New York University Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New


2013. Bilingual. Hardcover. The first complete translation in any language, retaining the many digressions, difficult passages, and convoluted grammatical discussions of the original Editor(s): Gelder, G. J. H. van. Series: Library of Arabic Literature. Num Pages: 464 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: DN. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 160 x 231 x 29. Weight in Grams: 760. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780814763780

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Synopsis: One of the most unusual books in classical Arabic literature,  The Epistle of Forgiveness is the lengthy reply by the prolific Syrian poet and prose writer Abu l-?Ala? al-Ma?arri (d. 449 H/1057 AD), to a letter written by an obscure grammarian, Ibn al-Qarih. With biting irony,  The Epistle of Forgiveness mocks Ibn al-Qarih's hypocrisy and sycophancy by imagining he has died and arrived with some difficulty in Heaven, where he meets famous poets and philologists from the past. He also glimpses Hell, and converses with the Devil and various heretics. Al-Ma?arri?a maverick, a vegan, and often branded a heretic himself?seems to mock popular ideas about the Hereafter. This book, the first of two volumes, includes Ibn al-Qarih?s initial letter to al-Ma?arri, as well as the first half of  The Epistle of Forgiveness.   This translation is the first complete translation in any language and retains the many digressions, difficult passages, and convoluted grammatical discussions of the original typically omitted in other translations. It is accompanied by a comprehensive introduction and detailed annotation. Replete with erudite commentary, amusing anecdotes, and sardonic wit,  The Epistle of Forgiveness is an imaginative tour-de-force by one of the most pre-eminent figures in classical Arabic literature.

About the Author:

Geert Jan van Gelder was Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford from 1998 to 2012. He is the author of several books on classical Arabic literature, including Beyond the Line: Classical Arabic Literary Critics on the Coherence and Unity of the Poem and Of Dishes and Discourse: Classical Arabic Literary Representations of Food.

Gregor Schoeler was the chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Basel from 1982 to 2009. His books in the fields of Islamic Studies and classical Arabic literature include The Oral and the Written in Early Islam, and Paradies und Holle, a partial German translation of The Epistle of Forgiveness.

Abu l-?Ala al-Ma?arri (363-449 H/973-1058 AD) was a major poet and prose writer of the late Abbasid period. Born near Aleppo, Syria, he lost his eyesight in childhood and was renowned for his asceticism.

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