Library of Arabic Literature Editorial Board General Editor Philip F. Kennedy, New York University Executive Editors James E. Montgomery, University of Cambridge Shawkat M. Toorawa, Cornell University Editors Julia Bray, University of Oxford Michael Cooperson, University of California, Los Angeles Joseph E. Lowry, University of Pennsylvania Tahera Qutbuddin, University of Chicago Devin J. Stewart, Emory University Managing Editor Chip Rossetti Volume Editor Michael Cooperson.
Letter from the General Editor The Library of Arabic Literature is a new series offering Arabic editions and English translations of key works of classical and pre-modern Arabic literature, as well as anthologies and thematic readers. Our books are edited and translated by distinguished scholars of Arabic and Islamic studies, and are published in parallel-text format with Arabic and English on facing pages. The Library of Arabic Literature will include texts from the pre-Islamic era to the cusp of the modern period, and will encompass a wide range of genres, including poetry, poetics, fiction, religion, philosophy, law, science, history and historiography.
ا ��� ��ت��ك ب � � � � ا ا �� �س��ل� ا ل��ع�� �� �س��ل� ا � � � ى � ب� ب ��� ا���را�ت�ل�� وا �ه� ا�ت�� ى���ل � � ا ش � اب �������د�س��ل�ا س��ر���� أ � ل��و�� ��ل��ا د��ل��ع��مب�ا.
Leg over Leg or The Turtle in the Tree concerning The Fāriyāq what Manner of Creature Might He Be by Fāris al-Shidyāq Volume One Edited and translated by Humphrey Davies NEw YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS New York and London.
NEw YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS New York and London Copyright © 2013 by New York University All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Shidyaq, Ahmad Faris, 1804?-1887.
Table of Contents Letter from the General Editor iii Foreword ix A Note on the Text xxxi Notes to the Frontmatter xxxiv Leg Over Leg, Volume One 1 Contents of the Book 4 The Dedication of This Elegantly Eloquent Book 6 Author’s Notice 8 An Introduction by the Publisher of This Book 16 Proem 20 Book One 34 Chapter 1: Raising a Storm 36 Chapter 2: A Bruising Fall and a Protecting Shawl 64 Chapter 3: Various Amusing Anecdotes 72 Chapter 4: Troubles and a Tambour 84 Chapter 5: A Priest and a Pursie, Dragging Pockets and Dry Grazing 92 Chapter 6: Food and Feeding Frenzies 108 Chapter 7: A Donkey that Brayed, a Journey Made, a Hope Delayed 116 Chapter 8: Bodega, Brethren, and Board 124 Chapter 9: Unseemly Conversations and Crooked Contestations 134 Chapter 10: Angering women who Dart Sideways Looks, and Claws like Hooks 148 Chapter 11: That which Is Long and Broad 162 Chapter 12: A Dish and an Itch 174 Chapter 13: A Maqāmah, or, a Maqāmah on “Chapter 13” 190 Chapter 14: A Sacrament 202 Chapter 15: The Priest’s Tale 212 Chapter 16: The Priest’s Tale Continued 222 Chapter 17: Snow 244 Chapter 18: Bad Luck 254 vii.
Table of Contents Chapter 19: Emotion and Motion 282 Chapter 20: The Difference between Market-men and Bag-men 312 Notes 321 Glossary 351 Index 355 About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute 366 About the Typefaces 367 About the Editor-Translator 368 viii.
Foreword Rebecca C. Johnson while I do not claim to be the first writer in the world to follow this path or thrust a pinch of it up the noses of those who pretend they are dozing, I do notice that all the authors in my bookcase are shackled to a single stylistic chain . . . . Once you’ve become familiar with one link of the chain, you feel as though you know all the others, so that each one of them may truly be called a chain- man, given that each has followed in the footsteps of the rest and imitated them closely. This being established, know that I have exited the chain, for I am no chain-man and will not form the rump of the line; nor do I have any desire to be at its front, for the latter is an even more calamitous place to be than the former. —Leg over Leg (1.17.10) For most Anglophone readers, this will be their first introduction to the writing of Fāris al-Shidyāq (later Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq, born in 1805 or 1806 and died in 1887), a foundational figure in Arabic literary modernity.1 For, although he is the author of at least four published works of literary prose, ten linguistic studies of Arabic, Turkish, English, and French, over 20,000 lines of poetry, and at least four unpublished manuscripts (not to mention his many translations, journal- istic and critical essays, or those works that have been lost), his work has never appeared in English until now. For specialists in Arabic literature and many native readers of Arabic, however, he needs little introduction. As belletrist, poet, travel writer, translator, lexicographer, grammarian, literary historian, essayist, publisher, and newspaper editor, he is known as a pioneer of modern Arabic literature, a reviver of classical forms, the father of Arabic journalism, and no less than a modernizer of the Arabic language itself. His masterwork, Al-Sāq ʿalā l-sāq fī mā huwa al-Fāriyāq (Leg over Leg or the Turtle in the Tree concerning the Fāriyāq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be, 1855), is acknowledged as one of the most distinguished works of the nineteenth century and an inaugural text of Arab modernity. It is also among the most controversial: generically impossible ix.