Love and Poetry in the Middle East
Extols the virtues of a literary form that offers an alternative and humane perspective on a part of the world so often reduced to crude caricature.
It has become common in the Western media to reduce the Middle East and its cultures to news and images of violence. A region at the centre of the world’s civilisations is in danger of becoming culturally tarnished beyond recognition. Yet the Middle East affords multiple interpretive and analytical lenses, of which love and poetry are enduring and enlightening ones.
This book offers a humane portrayal of the poetic expression of love in the Middle East. The ten chapters, spanning ancient and modern times and all the major languages of the region, demonstrate the perennial role of love poetry in shaping the collective imagination of its peoples. In both ancient and modern times, the Middle East appears in a meaningful dialogue with other cultures and traditions, feeding as well as being fed by them. Engaging and focused analyses of love poems from Babylonia in Iraq to ancient Egypt, and from the Arabian Peninsula to Iran, Turkey and other communities in the Middle East, deepen our understanding of the region, evoking its richness, its intimacy and its will to creativity.
Atef Alshaer is a lecturer in Arabic Language and Culture at the University of Westminster. He has several publications on the Arab world in the fields of language, literature and politics. He was educated at Birzeit University in Palestine and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he obtained his PhD and taught for a number of years. He is the author of Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World, and co-author of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication.