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Durham University

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Dr Adam Talib, BA [California], MA [Cairo], DPhil [Oxon]

Assistant Professor / Director of Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures

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In my teaching and research, I present an array of the topics, genres, tastes, and opinions found in the rich corpus of pre-modern Arabic literature, but I'm particularly interested in literary representations of difference and marginality (including time, sexuality, age, ethnicity, language, etc.) My current research is devoted to literary production during the long neglected Mamluk and Ottoman periods of Arab history (from roughly the mid-13th century to the early 19th century). I am also interested in the history of Persian and Ottoman Turkish poetry, especially with regard to their interactions with the Arabic literary tradition.

My first monograph, How Do You Say "Epigram" in Arabic?, came out with Brill in 2018 and I'm currently at work on two other books: (1) a study of sexual violence in classical Arabic literature and (2) a history of Arabic poetry anthologies.

I'm the associate editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature responsible for classical submissions and I'm on the editorial board of the Journal of World Literature and the advisory board of Gorgias Press' Modern Muslim World book series. I'm also on the jury for Gorgias Press' Classical Islamic World Book Prize.

I studied literary translation with the late master Michael Henry Heim while I was an undergraduate at UCLA. I've translated four novels from Arabic into English as well as several shorter pieces. My co-translation of Raja Alem's The Dove's Necklace tied for 1st place in the Arabic-to-English category at the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation.

Research Interests

  • Classical Arabic Poetry
  • Arabic literary history and the canon
  • Comparative Islamicate poetry: the development of poetic traditions in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman literatures
  • Classical Arabic literary scholarship: rhetoric, criticism, and prosody
  • Literary Translation

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