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The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition

Author: Shihab al-Din al-Nuwayri
Publisher: Penguin
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For the first time in English, a catalog of the world through fourteenth-century Arab eyes—a kind of Schott’s Miscellany for the Islamic Golden Age An astonishing record of the knowledge of a civilization, The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition catalogs everything known to exist from the perspective of a fourteenth-century Egyptian scholar and litterateur. More than 9,000 pages and thirty volumes—here abridged to one volume, and translated into English for the first time—it contains entries on everything from medieval moon-worshipping cults, sexual aphrodisiacs, and the substance of clouds, to how to get the smell of alcohol off one’s breath, the deliciousness of cheese made from buffalo milk, and the nesting habits of flamingos. Similar works by Western authors, including Pliny’s Natural History, have been available in English for centuries. This groundbreaking translation of a remarkable Arabic text—expertly abridged and annotated—offers a look at the world through the highly literary and impressively knowledgeable societies of the classical Islamic world. Meticulously arranged and delightfully eclectic, it is a compendium to be treasured—a true monument of erudition. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


The World in a Book

Author: Elias Muhanna
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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Shihab al-Din al-Nuwayri was a fourteenth-century Egyptian polymath and the author of one of the greatest encyclopedias of the medieval Islamic world—a thirty-one-volume work entitled The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition. A storehouse of knowledge, this enormous book brought together materials on nearly every conceivable subject, from cosmology, zoology, and botany to philosophy, poetry, ethics, statecraft, and history. Composed in Cairo during the golden age of Islamic encyclopedic activity, the Ultimate Ambition was one of hundreds of large-scale compendia, literary anthologies, dictionaries, and chronicles produced at this time—an effort that was instrumental in organizing the archive of medieval Islamic thought. In the first study of this landmark work in a European language, Elias Muhanna explores its structure and contents, sources and influences, and reception and impact in the Islamic world and Europe. He sheds new light on the rise of encyclopedic literature in the learned cities of the Mamluk Empire and situates this intellectual movement alongside other encyclopedic traditions in the ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment periods. He also uncovers al-Nuwayri’s world: a scene of bustling colleges, imperial chanceries, crowded libraries, and religious politics. Based on award-winning scholarship, The World in a Book opens up new areas in the comparative study of encyclopedic production and the transmission of knowledge.


Selections from Subh al A sh by al Qalqashandi Clerk of the Mamluk Court

Author: Tarek Galal Abdelhamid
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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Ṣubḥ al-A‘shā by al-Qalqashandī is a manual for chancery clerks completed in 1412 and a vital source of information on Fatimid and Mamluk Egypt which, for the first time, has been translated into English. The text provides valuable insight into the Mamluk and earlier Muslim eras. The selections presented in this volume describe Cairo, Fustat and the Cairo Citadel and give a detailed picture of the Fatimid (AD 969–1172), Ayyubid (AD 1172-1250) and Mamluk (AD 1250–1412) court customs, rituals and protocols, and depict how the Mamluk Sultanate was ruled. It also contains a wealth of details covering the geography, history and state administration systems of medieval Egypt. An introduction preceding the translation contextualizes al-Qalqashandī’s role and manuscript, as well as introducing the man himself, while detailed notes accompany the translation to explain and elaborate on the content of the material. The volume concludes with an extensive glossary of terms which forms a mini-encyclopaedia of the Fatimid and Mamluk periods. This translation will be a valuable resource for any student of medieval Islamic history.


A New Map of Wonders

Author: Caspar Henderson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
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We live in a world that is known, every corner thoroughly explored. But has this knowledge cost us the ability to wonder? Wonder, Caspar Henderson argues, is at its most supremely valuable in just such a world because it reaffirms our humanity and gives us hope for the future. That’s the power of wonder, and that’s what we should aim to cultivate in our lives. But what are the wonders of the modern world? Henderson’s brilliant exploration borrows from the form of one of the oldest and most widely known sources of wonder: maps. Large, detailed mappae mundi invited people in medieval Europe to vividly imagine places and possibilities they had never seen before: manticores with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the stinging tail of a scorpion; tribes of one-eyed men who fought griffins for diamonds; and fearsome Scythian warriors who drank the blood of their enemies from their skulls. As outlandish as these maps and the stories that went with them sound to us today, Henderson argues that our views of the world today are sometimes no less incomplete or misleading. Scientists are only beginning to map the human brain, for example, revealing it as vastly more complex than any computer we can conceive. Our current understanding of physical reality is woefully incomplete. A New Map of Wonders explores these and other realms of the wonderful, in different times and cultures and in the present day, taking readers from Aboriginal Australian landscapes to sacred sites in Great Britain, all the while keeping sight questions such as the cognitive basis of wonder and the relationship between wonder and science. Beautifully illustrated and written with wit and moral complexity, this sequel to The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is a fascinating account of the power of wonder and an unforgettable meditation on its importance to our future.


From Homer to hypertext

Author: Hans Balling
Publisher: Univ Pr of Southern Denmark
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The articles in this anthology discuss the connection between the rhetorical and narrative manifestations of literature, and the media and communicative structures in which they appear. Background literature is described from antique Greece to the present. The conception of literature is here a formal construction rather than an expression of a certain aesthetic perception. The book is structured in three themes: "Tradition and Authority," about the relations between the author and the tradition in post-modern literature; "Narrative Technique," about the role of the author; and "Textuality and Hypertext," concentrating on the textuality of literature in modernistic lyrics and the digitalized hypertext.


Joseph Vernet 1714 1789

Author: Marie-Pierre Demarcq
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French Verse Art

Author: Clive Scott
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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This 1980 book is designed to help university students to master the technicalities and techniques of French verse. The author assumes that part of the difficulty encountered by readers derives from the need to approach French verse through English verse; this book undertakes, therefore, a differentiation of the two verse traditions. Dr Scott's concern is to provide the groundwork of a terminology, to discuss the origins and implications of that terminology, and to show how terminological knowledge can be translated into critical speculation about poetry. After three chapters which establish the essential features of the French line of verse and outline the difficulties the student is likely to encounter in trying to describe it and deal with it, the book moves on to consider rhyme, stanzas, verse forms and free verse.


Classical Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author: William Allan
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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From popular histories through to reworkings of classical subject matter by contemporary poets, dramatists, and novelists, the classical world and the masterpieces of its literature continue to fascinate readers and audiences in a huge variety of media. In this Very Short Introduction, William Allan explores what the 'classics' are and why they continue to shape our Western concepts of literature. Presenting a range of material from both Greek and Latin literature, he illustrates the variety and sophistication of these works, and considers examples from all the major genres. Ideal for the general reader interested in works of classic literature, as well as students at A-Level and University, this is a lively and lucid guide to the major authors and literary forms of the ancient period. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Arts Architecture

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Collected Poems

Author: Robert Hayden
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
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An exquisite body of work celebrating the centennial of one of the most important African-American poets of the twentieth century. Robert Hayden was one of the most important American poets of the twentieth century. He left behind an exquisite body of work, collected in this definitive edition, including A Ballad of Remembrance, Words in the Mourning Time, The Night-Blooming Cereus, Angle of Ascent, and American Journal, which was nominated for a National Book Award. Also included is an introduction by American poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, as well as an afterword by Arnold Rampersad that provides a critical and historical context. In Hayden’s work the actualities of history and culture became the launching places for flights of imagination and intelligence. His voice—characterized by musical diction and an exquisite feeling for the formality of pattern—is a seminal one in American life and literature.