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Leg Over Leg: Volume Two (Library of Arabic Literature) Hardcover – August 23, 2013

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Leg Over Leg: Volume Two (Library of Arabic Literature) + Leg Over Leg: Volume One (Library of Arabic Literature) + Leg Over Leg: Volume Three (Library of Arabic Literature)
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Arabic Literature
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Library of Arabic Literature; Bilingual edition (August 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814769845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814769843
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"It is not too early to state that the publication of this work, in this edition, is a game-changer. This is a foundational work of modern Arabic literature and its publication in English is long overdue — but given how it is presented here, it was perhaps worth the wait. This edition, with helpful endnotes, the original Arabic text, and in a translation that both reads well and appears to closely mirror the original, seems, in almost every way, ideal… I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this is the most important literary publication of a translation into English, in terms of literary history and our understanding of it, in years."

-The Complete Review

"...Leg Over Leg by the Lebanese intellectual Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, [has] long been held to be untranslatable and so [is] appearing, in [its] entirety, in English for the first time."-Lydia Wilson,Times Literary Supplement

"Al-Shidyaq, born in Lebanon in the early years of the nineteenth century, was a Zelig of the Arabic literary world, and his Leg Over Leg is a bawdy, hilarious, epically word-obsessed, and unclassifiable book, which has never been translated into English before…"


"We're having a particularly good season for literary discoveries from the past, with recent publications of Volumes 1 and 2 of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq's 'Leg Over Leg' (1855)..."-Martin Riker,New York Times Book Review

"Its contemporaneity is astonishing... It would be doing Leg Over Leg a massive disservice to not make it clear how funny it is. This is a book that for all its challenges, all its insight into humanity, all its place in history, had me regularly laughing out loud."-Music and Literature

“The heroic achievement of award-winning translator Humphrey Davies marks the first ever English translation of this pivotal work… An accessible, informative, and highly entertaining read.”

-Banipal Magazine

"Humphrey Davies’ translation, published in four dual-language volumes, is a triumph. He skillfully renders punning, rhyming prose without breaking the spell… Leg Over Leg stands out for both its stylistic brazenness and the excellence of the translation. With this bilingual edition, the Library of Arabic Literature helps fill a large cultural gap and alters our view of Arabic literature and the formal trajectory of the novel outside the West. Any reader for whom the term ‘world literature’ is more than an empty platitude must read Humphrey Davies's translation."-John Yargo,Los Angeles Review of Books

"Humphrey Davies’s masterful translation makes accessible this unique and fascinating work, deserving of wider recognition and study […] The translation adroitly and sympathetically captures the linguistic exuberance and literary inventiveness of the original."-Banipal Magazine

About the Author

Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (1805 or 1806-1887) was a foundational figure in modern Arabic literature. Born to a prominent Maronite family in Lebanon, al-Shidyaq was a pioneering publisher, poet, essayist, lexicographer and translator. Known as "the father of Arabic journalism," al-Shidyaq played a major role in reviving and modernizing the Arabic language.

Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of Arabic literature from the Ottoman period to the present. Writers he has translated include Yusuf al-Shirbini, Elias Khoury, Alaa Al Aswany, Bahaa Taher, Muhammad Mustagab, Gamal al-Ghitani, Hamdy el-Gazzar, Khaled Al-Berry, and Ahmed Alaidy. He lives in Cairo.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roberto Bolaño on September 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A masterpiece of modern Arabic literature, and probably the first postmodern novel ever written in Arabic and published in 1855, even before the novel itself was established as a literary genre in the Levant and Egypt, and a work believed to be utterly untranslatable, is now available in a masterful English translation, which is an absolute masterpiece by itself. What Humphrey Davies created, in this bilingual 4-volume set, is nothing but miraculous. To the best of my judgment, it is the best translation ever from Arabic literature, and it's bound to do to Al-Shidyaq's masterpiece what Galland's French translation did to the Book of Thousand and One Nights two hundred years ago - gradually consume the original and replace it as the standard reference for al-Shidyaq's fans. This system doesn't have enough starts to measure Davies's grand achievement.
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Leg Over Leg: Volume Two (Library of Arabic Literature)
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