Cover: The Rise of the Arabic Book, from Harvard University PressCover: The Rise of the Arabic Book in HARDCOVER

The Rise of the Arabic Book

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674987814

Publication Date: 10/13/2020


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 photos


[A] superb history of the creation of the Arabic book in the ninth century… Gruendler is a leading authority on Classical Arabic literature of the early period and her chosen excerpts are both astute and illuminating—and often unexpectedly amusing (and sometimes downright scurrilous)… A major work of scholarship which is also a delight to read.—Eric Ormsby, Literary Review

An exciting and original look at the subject of Abbasid book production from one of the leading authorities on classical Arabic literature. Gruendler brings to life the role of the stationers as book makers and book sellers, humble craftsmen usually overlooked by historians, whose labors enabled Arabic book culture to flourish. This fascinating work inaugurates a new way of looking at the subject.—Hugh Kennedy, author of Caliphate: The History of an Idea

A window into the vibrant intellectual history of the classical Arabic book, from the pen of an eminent scholar of Abbasid belles lettres.—Tahera Qutbuddin, author of Arabic Oration: Art and Function

Beatrice Gruendler expertly plumbs classical and medieval Arabic sources to tell the fascinating story of how authors and autodidacts, book addicts and book doubters, poets and papermakers, and scholars and stationers of ninth-century Baghdad—the city of a hundred bookshops—contributed to the phenomenal rise of the Arabic book. This volume is destined to be indispensable for all who are interested in the global history of the book.—Shawkat M. Toorawa, Professor of Arabic, Yale University

The breathtaking book revolution that took hold of the Arabic Near East from the ninth century CE onward led to an explosive growth in manuscripts, libraries, and all forms of written culture. In this extraordinary new book, Beatrice Gruendler traces the rise of the Arabic codex, bringing into focus not only the fascinating material objects themselves but also the people who made and used them. After reading this wide-ranging and deeply erudite work, no one who studies the history of the book and of global humanities in general will be able to ignore the Arabic contribution.—Glenn W. Most, coeditor of The Classical Tradition

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