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Ruse and Wit

Ruse and Wit

The Humorous in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Narrative

Edited by Dominic Parviz Brookshaw

ISBN 9780674066700

Publication date: 10/08/2012

The essays in Ruse and Wit examine in detail a wide range of texts (from nonsensical prose, to ribald poetry, titillating anecdotes, edifying plays, and journalistic satire) that span the best part of a millennium of humorous and satirical writing in the Islamic world, from classical Arabic to medieval and modern Persian, and Ottoman Turkish (and by extension Modern Greek). While acknowledging significant elements of continuity in the humorous across distinct languages, divergent time periods, and disparate geographical regions, the authors have not shied away from the particular and the specific. When viewed collectively, the findings presented in the essays collected here underscore the belief that humor as evidenced in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish narrative is a culturally modulated phenomenon, one that demands to be examined with reference to its historical framework and one that, in turn, communicates as much about those who produced humor as it does about those who enjoyed it.


  • This fascinating collection of articles…enriches our knowledge of classical and modern literature in the Near and Middle East, showing the importance of wit and entertainment in writing throughout history, and alerting us to the challenge of decoding the authors' play with bawdy satire and delicate humor.

    —Christine von Ruymbeke, University of Cambridge


  • Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Persian Literature at Stanford University

Book Details

  • 172 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Ilex Foundation