Leg Over Leg: Volume Two

Leg Over Leg: Volume Two


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Leg over Leg recounts the life, from birth to middle age, of ‘the Fariyaq,’ alter ego of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, a pivotal figure in the intellectual and literary history of the modern Arab world. The always edifying and often hilarious adventures of the Fariyaq, as he moves from his native Lebanon to Egypt, Malta, Tunis, England and France, provide the author with grist for wide-ranging discussions of the intellectual and social issues of his time, including the ignorance and corruption of the Lebanese religious and secular establishments, freedom of conscience, women’s rights, sexual relationships between men and women, the manners and customs of Europeans and Middle Easterners, and the differences between contemporary European and Arabic literatures. Al-Shidyaq also celebrates the genius and beauty of the classical Arabic language.

Akin to Sterne and Rabelais in his satirical outlook and technical inventiveness, al-Shidyaq produced in Leg Over Leg a work that is unique and unclassifiable. It was initially widely condemned for its attacks on authority, its religious skepticism, and its “obscenity,” and later editions were often abridged. This is the first English translation of the work and reproduces the original Arabic text, published under the author’s supervision in 1855.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814769843
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 08/23/2013
Series: Library of Arabic Literature Series , #27
Edition description: Bilingual
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (1805 or 1806-1887) was a foundational figure in modern Arabic literature. Born to a prominent Maronite family in Lebanon, al-Shidyaq was a pioneering publisher, poet, essayist, lexicographer and translator. Known as "the father of Arabic journalism," al-Shidyaq played a major role in reviving and modernizing the Arabic language.

Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of some twenty works of modern Arabic literature,
among them Alaa Al-Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building , four novels by Elias Khoury, including Gate of the Sun , and Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg over Leg. He has also made a critical edition, translation, and lexicon of the Ottoman-period Hazz al-quhuf bi-sharh qasid Abi Shaduf ( Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded ) by Yusuf al-Shirbini and compiled with a colleague an anthology entitled Al-‘ammiyyah al-misriyyah al-maktubah: mukhtarat min 1400 ila 2009 ( Egyptian Colloquial Writing:
selections from 1400 to 2009 ). 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, where he lives.

Table of Contents

Letter from the General Editor iii
Volume Two 1
Contents of the Book 4
Chapter 1: Rolling a Boulder 8
Chapter 2: A Salutation and a Conversation 38
Chapter 3: The Extraction of the Fariyaq from Alexandria, by Sail 62
Chapter 4: A Throne to Gain Which Man Must Make Moan 84
Chapter 5: A Description of Cairo 104
Chapter 6: Nothing 114
Chapter 7: A Description of Cairo 116
Chapter 8: Notice that the Description of Cairo is Ended 122
Chapter 9: That to Which I Have Alluded 134
Chapter 10: A Doctor 142
Chapter 11: The Fulfillment of What He Promised Us 150
Chapter 12: Poems for Princes 160
Chapter 13: A Maqamah to Make You Sit 174
Chapter 14: An Explanation of the Obscure Words in the Preceding
Maqamah and Their Meanings 186
Chapter 15: Right There! ☞ 292
Chapter 16: Right Here! 294
Chapter 17: Elegy for a Donkey 370
Chapter 18: Various Forms of Sickness 382
Chapter 19: The Circle of the Universe and the Center of This Book 390
Chapter 20: Miracles and Supernatural Acts 400
Notes 409
Glossary 433
Index 436
About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute 444
About the Typefaces 445
About the Editor-Translator 446

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