Best African & Middle Eastern Literature Books

Here you will get Best African & Middle Eastern Literature Books For you.This is an up-to-date list of recommended books.

1. The Epic of Gilgamesh

Author: by Anonymous
Published at: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 30, 1960)
ISBN: 978-0140441000

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N.K.Sandars’s landmark translation of one of the first and greatest works of Western literatureA Penguin ClassicGilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu are the only heroes to have survived from the ancient literature of Babylon, immortalized in this epic poem that dates back to the third millennium BC.

Together they journey to the Spring of Youth, defeat the Bull of Heaven and slay the monster Humbaba. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh’s grief and fear of death are such that they lead him to undertake a quest for eternal life.

A timeless tale of morality, tragedy and pure adventure, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a landmark literary exploration of man’s search for immortality.N.K. Sandars’s lucid, accessible translation is prefaced by a detailed introduction that examines the narrative and historical context of the work.

In addition, there is a glossary of names and a map of the Ancient Orient. 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.


2. Season of Migration to the North (New York Review Books Classics)

Author: by Tayeb Salih
Published at: NYRB Classics; New York Review Books Classics edition (April 14, 2009)
ISBN: 978-1590173022

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After years of study in Europe, the young narrator of Season of Migration to the North returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country.

Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhoodthe enigmatic Mustafa Sa’eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.

But what is the meaning of Mustafa’s shocking confession? Mustafa disappears without explanation, leaving the young manwhom he has asked to look after his wifein an unsettled and violent no-man’s-land between Europe and Africa, tradition and innovation, holiness and defilement, and man and woman, from which no one will escape unaltered or unharmed.

Season of Migration to the North is a rich and sensual work of deep honesty and incandescent lyricism. In 2001 it was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century.


3. Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature

Author: by Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Published at: James Currey Ltd / Heinemann (June 26, 1986)
ISBN: 978-0852555019

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Ngugi describes this book as ‘a summary of some of the issues in which I have been passionately involved for the last twenty years of my practice in fiction, theatre, criticism and in teaching of literature.’East Africa [Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda]: EAEP


4. The Epic of Gilgamesh (Norton Critical Editions)

Author: by Benjamin R. Foster
Published at: W. W. Norton & Company; Second edition (February 14, 2019)
ISBN: 978-0393643985

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This scrupulous new translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh manages to convey much of the archaic power and even something of the occasional humor of the ancient Mesopotamian poem. What is especially valuable is that the translators, by collating passages from the different ancient versions of this epic that have survived only in fragments, have made available many vivid narrative episodes that will be new to most English readers of the poem.

Robert Alter, University of California, BerkeleyThis Norton Critical Edition includes:An expanded translation from the Akkadian by Benjamin R. Foster based on new discoveries, adding lines throughout the world’s oldest epic masterpiece.Benjamin R. Foster’s full introduction and expanded explanatory annotations.

Eleven illustrations. Analogues from the Sumerian and Hittite narrative traditions along with The Gilgamesh Letter, a parody of the epic enjoyed by Mesopotamian schoolchildren during the first millennium BCE. Essays by Thorkild Jacobsen, William L. Moran, Susan Ackerman, and Andrew R.


5. Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts (Three Continents Press)

Author: by Nizar Qabbani
Published at: Three Continents Pr; Revised edition (November 1, 1999)
ISBN: 978-0894108815

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Nizar Kabbani s poetry has been described as more powerful than all the Arab regimes put together (Lebanese Daily Star). Reflecting on his death in 1998, Sulhi Al-Wadi wrote (in Tishreen), Qabbani is like water, bread, and the sun in every Arab heart and house.

In his poetry the harmony of the heart, and in his blood the melody of love. Arabian Love Poems is the first English-language collection of his work. Kabbani was a poet of great simplicity direct, spontaneous, musical, using the language of everyday life.

He was a ceaseless campaigner for women s rights, and his verses praise the beauty of the female body, and of love. He was an Arab nationalist, yet he criticized Arab dictators and the lack of freedom in the Arab world.

He was the poet of Damascus: I am the Damascene. If you dissect my body, grapes and apples will come out of it. If you open my veins with your knife, you will hear in my blood the voices of those who have departed.

Frangieh and Brown s elegant translations are accompanied by the Arabic texts of the poems, penned by Kabbani especially for this collection.


6. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism

Author: by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Published at: Oxford University Press; 25th edition (July 23, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0195136470

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Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as “eclectic, exciting, convincing, provocative” and in The Washington Post Book World as “brilliantly original,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The Signifying Monkey is a groundbreaking work that illuminates the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature.

It elaborates a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World.

Exploring the process of signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the “Talking Book,” a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters.


7. Questions for Ada

Author: by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
Published at: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (August 7, 2015)
ISBN: 978-1505984347

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The artistry of QUESTIONS FOR ADA defies words, embodying the pain, the passion, and the power of love rising from the depths of our souls. Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s poetry is a flower that will blossom in the spirit of every reader as she shares her heart with raw candor.

From lyrical lushness to smoky sensuality to raw truths, this tome of transforming verse is the book every woman wants to write but can’t until the broken mirrors of their lives have healed. In this gifted author’s own wordsI am too full of life to be half-loved.

A bold celebration of womanhood.


8. Textual Criticism and Qur'an Manuscripts

Author: by Keith E. Small
Published at: Lexington Books (April 22, 2011)
ISBN: 978-0739142899

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This unique work takes a method of textual analysis commonly used in studies of ancient Western and Eastern manuscripts and applies it to twenty-one early Qur’an manuscripts. Keith Small analyzes a defined portion of text from the Qur’an with two aims in view: to recover the earliest form of text for this portion, and to trace the historical development of this portion to the current form of the text of the Qur’an.

Small concludes that though a significantly early edited form of the consonantal text of the Qur’an can be recovered, its original forms of text cannot be obtained. He also documents the further editing that was required to record the Arabic text of the Qur’an in a complete phonetic script, as well as providing an explanation for much of the development of various recitation systems of the Qur’an.

This controversial, thought-provoking book provides a rigorous examination into the history of the Qur’an and will be of great interest to Quranic Studies scholars.


9. The Arabian Nights (Norton Critical Editions)

Author: by Daniel Heller-Roazen
Published at: W. W. Norton & Company; First edition (December 1, 2009)
ISBN: 978-0393928082

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This Norton Critical Edition includes twenty-eight tales from The Arabian Nights translated by Husain Haddawy on the basis of the oldest existing Arabic manuscript. Few works of literature are as familiar and beloved as The Arabian Nights. Yet few remain also as unknown.

In English, The Arabian Nights is a literary work of relatively recent datethe first versions of the tales appeared in English barely two hundred years ago. The tales are accompanied by a preface, a note on the text, and explanatory annotations.

Contexts presents three of the oldest witnesses to The Arabian Nights in the Arabic tradition, together in English for the first time: an anonymous ninth-century fragment, Al Masudi’s Muruj al-Dhahab, and Ibn al-Nadim’s The Fihrist. Also included are three related works by the nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers Edgar Allan Poe, Marcel Proust, and Taha Husayn.

Criticism collects eleven wide-ranging essays on The Arabian Nights’ central themes by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Josef Horovitz, Jorge Luis Borges, Francesco Gabrieli, Mia Irene Gerhardt, Tzvetan Todorov, Andras Hamori, Heinz Grotzfield, Jerome W. Clinton, Abdelfattah Kilito, and David Pinault. A Chronology of The Arabian Nights and a Selected Bibliography are also included.

10. Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories

Author: by Ghassan Kanafani
Published at: Lynne Rienner Publishers; First Edition (August 1, 2000)
ISBN: 978-0894108907

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Politics and the novel, Ghassan Kanafani once said, are an indivisible case. Fadl al-Naqib has reflected that Kanafani wrote the Palestinian story, then he was written by it. His narratives offer entry into the Palestinian experience of the conflict that has anguished the people of the Middle East for more than a century.

In Palestine’s Children, each story involves a child a child who is victimized by political events and circumstances, but who nevertheless participates in the struggle toward a better future. As in Kanafani’s other fiction, these stories explore the need to recover the past the lost homeland by action.

At the same time, written by a major talent, they have a universal appeal. This edition includes the translators’ contextual introduction and a short biography of the author.

11. The Story Of The ORISHAS: Understanding Cosmic Forces (ORISHA Introduction Series)

Author: by MR. HAROLD R. SPADONI III
Published at: Independently published (October 15, 2019)
ISBN: 978-1699971925

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THE STORY OF THE ORISHASUNDERSTANDING COSMIC FORCESWritten & Illustrated By: Harold R. Spadoni IIIThe Yoruba people, their culture, and their teachings have influenced millions of people all around the world. This way of life was brought about through the attributes of the Orishas as universal cosmic forces.

Regardless of race, or gender we are all assigned a guardian Orisha to watch over and guide us on our journey through life. The purpose of this book is to enlighten the readers with an understanding of the Orishas as cosmic forces and how they work within the universe and within us.

Telling the story of the Orishas, with a basic breakdown, along with beautifully detailed illustrations of each Orisha, you will surely be captivated by the essence of this remarkable culture.

12. Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Revised and Expanded Edition

Author: by Nazim Hikmet
Published at: Persea; Revised & Expanded Second edition (May 1, 2002)
ISBN: 978-0892552740


Poems of Nazim Hikmet, Revised and Expanded Edition Cover

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The definitive selection by the first and foremost modern Turkish poet. A centennial volume, with previously unavailable poems, by Turkey’s greatest poet. Published in celebration of the poet’s one hundredth birthday, this exciting edition of the poems of the Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) collects work from his four previous selected volumes and adds more than twenty poems never before available in English.

The Blasing/Konuk translations, acclaimed for the past quarter-century for their accuracy and grace, convey Hikmet’s compassionate, accessible voice with the subtle music, innovative form, and emotional directness of the originals.

13. Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Aje in Africana Literature

Author: by Teresa N Washington
Published at: Oya's Tornado; 2nd edition (December 23, 2015)
ISBN: 978-0991073054

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This is the revised and expanded edition of Teresa N. Washington’s groundbreaking book Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts: Manifestations of Aje in Africana Literature. In Yoruba language and culture, Aje signifies both a phenomenal spiritual power and the human beings who exercise that power.

Aje is the birthright of Africana women who are revered as the Gods of Society. While Africana men can have Aje, its owners and controllers are Africana women. Because it is an African female power, and due to its invisibility, ubiquity, and profundity, Aje is often maligned as witchcraft.

However, as Teresa N. Washington reveals in Our Mothers, Our Powers, Our Texts, Aje is central to the Yoruba ethos, worldview, and cosmology. Not only is it essential to human creation and artistic creativity, but as a force of justice and retribution, Aje is vital to social harmony and balance.

Washington analyzes forms, figures, and forces of Aje in the Yoruba world, in the Caribbean Islands, in Latin America, and in African America. Washington’s research reveals that with the exile and enslavement of millions of Africans, Aje became a global force and an essential ally in organizing insurrections, soothing shattered souls, and reminding the dispossessed of their inherent divinity.

14. Sunjata: A New Prose Version

Author: by David Conrad
Published at: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; UK ed. edition (June 1, 2016)
ISBN: 978-1624664946

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“After existing orally for hundreds of years, Sunjata was written down in the 20th century. David Conrad, who recorded a new version of the epic, has now crafted a prose translation that preserves the oral flavor of live performance. The result is a captivating work of literature that will finally give the story of Sunjata its well-deserved place among the great epics of world literature.” Martin Puchner, Byron and Anita Wien Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature, Harvard University

15. Sunjata (Penguin Classics)

Author: by Bamba Suso
Published at: Penguin Classics (May 1, 2000)
ISBN: 978-0140447361

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Sunjata Keita was the founder of one of the greatest empires of Western Africa. These two epic accounts of his life portray a greedy, slow-witted child – said to have crawled until the age of seven – who grew up as prophecy foretold to become a mighty warrior, renowned for his bravery and superhuman strength.

They describe how, with the help of his sister, who seduced their arch-enemy Sumanguru into revealing his secret powers, Sunjata defeated the Susu overlords and created the Mali Empire which would last for two centuries. Based on events from the early thirteenth century, these tales of heroism and magic are still celebrated across West Africa as part of a living epic oral tradition.

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.