"Graceful, thought-provoking, erudite, Abdelfattah Kilito illuminates the Arabic narrative tradition and narrative itself."—Gerald Prince, University of Pennsylvania
"Arabs and the Art of Storytelling showcases Kilito’s signature creativity and boldness as a critic. Sryfi and Sellin, with their thoughtful translation, have done a service to readers of Arabic and to anyone interested in literary culture. The field of Arabic studies is that much richer for their efforts."—Samuel England, University of Wisconsin
"A welcome English translation of the work of one of the most celebrated authors and literary critics of North Africa. Kilito does not give a singular prescription of how to analyze literary texts but challenges the reader to be open to the constant re-examination of the Arabic narrative tradition."—Aomar Boum, Department of Anthropology, UCLA
"An award-winning Moroccan novelist, essayist, and literary critic, Kilito offers another study of canonical Arab narrative literature"—Choice
In Arabs and the Art of Storytelling, the eminent Moroccan literary historian and critic Kilito revisits and reassesses, in a modern critical light, many traditional narratives of the Arab world. He brings to such celebrated texts as A Thousand and One Nights, Kalila and Dimna, and Kitab al-Bukhala’ refreshing and iconoclastic insight, giving new life to classic stories that are often treated as fossilized and untouchable cultural treasures.
For Arab scholars and readers, poetry has for centuries taken precedence, overshadowing narrative as a significant literary genre. Here, Kilito demonstrates the key role narrative has played in the development of Arab belles lettres and moral philosophy. His urbane style has earned him a devoted following among specialists and general readers alike, making this translation an invaluable contribution to an English-speaking audience.
About the Author
Abdelfattah Kilito is an acclaimed Moroccan novelist, essayist, and critic. He has written several important works on classical Arabic literature, both in French and Arabic, many of which have been translated into numerous languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, and English. He is the recipient of many awards, including the French Academy Award in 1996.
Mbarek Sryfi is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and an adjunct assistant professor at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. His translations have appeared in CELAAN, Metamorphoses, and World Literature Today.
Eric Sellin is professor emeritus at Tulane University. He is the author of two books on Antonin Artaud and on early twentieth-century avant-garde movements.
Series: Middle East Literature in Translation
5.5 x 8.5, 176 pages