Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abū Shādūf Expounded: Volume Two (Library of Arabic Literature #57) (Hardcover)

Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abū Shādūf Expounded: Volume Two (Library of Arabic Literature #57) By Yūsuf Al-Shirbīnī, Humphrey Davies (Editor), Humphrey Davies (Translator) Cover Image
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Description


Unique in pre-twentieth-century Arabic literature for taking the countryside as its central theme, Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī's Brains Confounded combines a mordant satire on seventeenth-century Egyptian rural society with a hilarious parody of the verse-and-commentary genre so beloved by scholars of his day.

In Volume One, al-Shirbīnī describes the three rural "types"--peasant cultivator, village man-of-religion and rural dervish--offering numerous anecdotes testifying to the ignorance, dirtiness, illiteracy, lack of proper religious understanding, and criminality of each. He follows it in Volume Two with a 47-line poem supposedly written by a peasant named Abū Shādūf, who charts the rise and fall of his fortunes and bewails, above all, the lack of access to delicious foods to which his poverty has condemned him. Wielding the scholarly tools of elite literature, al-Shirbīnī responds to the poem with derision and ridicule, dotting his satire of the ignorant rustic with numerous digressions into love, food, and flatulence.

Witty, bawdy, and vicious, Brains Confounded belongs to an unrecognized genre from an understudied period in Egypt's Ottoman history, and is a work of outstanding importance for the study of pre-modern colloquial Egyptian Arabic, pitting the "coarse" rural masses against the "refined" and urbane in a contest for cultural and religious primacy, with a heavy emphasis on the writing of verse as a yardstick of social acceptability.

A bilingual Arabic-English edition.

About the Author


Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī (Author) Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī was a well-educated Egyptian from the eleventh/seventeenth century, thought to originate from the town of Shirbīn, then a significant rural center in the eastern part of Delta. Little is known about him--including his social standing and profession--beyond Brains Confounded and two other extant texts: The Pearls (Al-Laʾāliʾ wa-l-durar) and The Casting Aside of the Clods for the Unstringing of the Pearls (Ṭarḥ al-madar li-ḥall al-laʾāliʾ wa-l-durar). Humphrey Davies (Edited and Translated by) Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of some twenty-five works of modern Arabic literature, among them Alaa Al-Aswany's The Yacoubian Building, five novels by Elias Khoury, including Gate of the Sun, and Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq's Leg over Leg. He has also made a critical edition, translation, and lexicon of the Ottoman-period Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abū Shādūf Expounded by Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī, as well as editions and translations of al-Tūnisī's In Darfur and al-Sanhūrī's Risible Rhymes from the same era. In addition, he has compiled with Madiha Doss an anthology in Arabic entitled Al-ʿāmmiyyah al-miṣriyyah al-maktūbah: mukhtārāt min 1400 ilā 2009 (Egyptian Colloquial Writing: selections from 1400 to 2009) and co-authored, with Lesley Lababidi, A Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo. He read Arabic at the University of Cambridge, received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and previous to undertaking his first translation in 2003, worked for social development and research organizations in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Sudan. He is affiliated with the American University in Cairo.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781479838905
ISBN-10: 147983890X
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication Date: July 12th, 2016
Pages: 360
Language: English
Series: Library of Arabic Literature