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Desert Voices: Bedouin Women's Poetry in Saudi Arabia (Library of Modern Middle East Studies) Hardcover – July 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Modern Middle East Studies (Book 74)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tauris Academic Studies (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845116666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845116668
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,509,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'This is a truly unique book. It presents material and analysis that is highly original in the fields of Bedouin oral literature, not to mention the broader field of Arabic literary studies - One senses at times that one is in the presence of a truly gifted thinker into whose hands this Arabian women's poetry was unbelievably fortunate to fall - In simply taking seriously for the first time ever this magnificent poetry and bringing it, hopefully for good, into the canon of Arab poetry, this book is an important breakthrough. The exquisite translations of this poetry which has never before been translated, or even remarked upon, would in themselves make the book worth publishing; the rich exegesis and interpretation and the philosophical reflections on melancholy, loss and voice that frame the poetry add to the value.' - Lila Abu-Lughod, William B. Ransford Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Columbia University; 'Professor Al-Ghadeer draws attention to the much-neglected poetry from the Arabian peninsula created by women; indeed, she goes a long way towards making this largely oral tradition available to an English-speaking audience - In her analysis of these poems in Desert Voices, she makes an incredibly convincing case that Bedouin women's poetry can be brought into conversation with European and American literary theory for the benefit of 'theory' as well as for our own understanding of the poetic corpus she examines. The theoretical tendencies with which Professor Al-Ghadeer is most in conversation with are psychoanalysis and deconstruction - She draws on comparative methods to articulate a model for reading non-Western literatures in a Western context as a kind of translation in conversation with Western theoretical paradigms.' - Jarrod Hayes, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Associate Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan

About the Author

Moneera Al-Ghadeer is Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MrsChung on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I personally couldn't make it though the first chapter before I found myself skipping to later chapters to find the actual poetry....which is sparse at best. Does the author wish to inspire interest in Bedouin women's poetry or in her opinion of it? Because I'm not terribly interested in her interpretations...and sadly there just isn't much of anything in terms of poems. Where's the beef?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hatoon AL FASSI on January 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Moneerah Al-Ghadeer in Desert Voices transfers Saudi woman's voice from the limited locality in a small village or a remote desert to the vast world. She is doing it with style, with an inner reading of what these women have been doing with their words and how they managed to express their souls regardless of the severe restrictions on women's visibility in image or sound.

What was more interesting than mere translating those hard to understand even for a native Arab lines, was the deep post-colonial feminist critique she is mastering to dig into the souls and history. She brought the reading of poetry to another level of women's struggle to achieve existence and the recognition of the validity of their experiences.
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dr. T on May 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In this beautiful book, Moneera Al-Ghadeer brings to light a body of texts that has been hitherto unknown or misunderstood. Women oral poetry from Arabia, rendered in Al-Ghadeer's masterful translation, reveals a world of inexorable wealth. The perception of the voiceless and oppressed Arab woman soon dissipates when reading these poems as they involve a complexity of emotions, negotiations with tribal law, and expressions of love and sadness. These poems are informed by a sophisticated literary analysis that finally does justice to this long poetic tradition. Giving these women voice in Al-Ghadeer's text consists in translating their poems but also in creating a dialogue between their poetry and contemporary literary criticism, connecting them to other texts, other voices, both in the Arab world and beyond. Bedouin poetry in Al-Ghadeer's reading transcends its circumscribed cultural context and enters world literature, articulating a universal human experience that speaks to all.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bulbul on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A delight, and a gift.
"Desert Voices" is one of those rare and precious works of literary criticism that not only puts a "lesser-known" tradition into dialogue with the questions and theoretical insights of Continental philosophers, but also places the reader in the thick, local field of references inhabited by the feeling, affectively-charged artist herself - in this case, the Bedouin poetess. The mourning, melancholy, desire and fantasy given voice in this poetry, and delivered and performed in their analysis, makes the academic project into something new and tangible. Concepts of translation, translatability, and affect are presented in a way that is pedagogical and insightful.
Highly recommended for students of comparative literature, cultural studies, anthropology, and translation.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Aida Shami on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In this excellent and well-argued book, Al-Ghadeer tells us that marginal and subaltern Bedouin women can indeed speak. As she explores their poetry, Al-Ghadeer succeeds in merging worlds segregated by disciplinary boundaries. "Desert Voices" is a rich contribution to Arabic literary studies, anthropology, and literary criticism. It is a must-read for students and senior researchers alike.
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