- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Luzac Oriental (March 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 189894203X
- ISBN-13: 978-1898942030
- Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ring of the Dove: A Treatise on the Art and Practice of Arab Love
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Top Customer Reviews
A word about the translator would be beneficial. Even though A.J.Arberry is eloquent in his English language, after all he is a doctor in literature, I must admit that he isn't quite there in mastery of the Arabic language, especially classical Arabic, and specifically, that of Ibn Hazm's time. A.J. Berry has tried his best, yet has made some mistakes in translation. This is especially seen when he translates the poems liberally for the sake of the rhyme in the English language. I personally believe he shouldn't have done that. As one cannot make a poem rhyme in both languages. If it rhymes in Arabic, it won't rhyme in English, due to obvious reasons. He took considerable liberties for that purpose. The result is: much of poetry loses its orginality, in terms of language, syntax and diction. Moreover, this work was translated in the 1940's, some 60 years ago. Hence, the period of time might also be responsible for the odd English structures. I would really like a fresh new translation of this work due to this reason.
The title hints at the ring of feathers found around the necks of pigeons which symbolises the "chain of love" that eternally binds lovers in classical Islamic literature. Ibn Hazm offers a vast range of fascinating observations on love including the act of falling in love via a description, falling in love while sleeping and the various roles mediators play between lovers. In numerous passages, Hazm will have you in awe at his acute awareness of human nature. But perhaps more striking than anything is the harsh realism of his observations for example, when remarking on the notion of falling in love at first sight, he exclaims:
When a man falls in love at first sight, and forms a sudden attachment as the result of a fleeting glance, that proves him to be little steadfast, and proclaims that he will as suddenly forget his romantic adventure; it testifies to his fickleness and inconstancy. So, it is with all things; the quicker they grow, the quicker they decay; while on the other hand slow produced is slow consumed.
Sometimes strenuous are the frequent 'poems' Hazm offers after each topic and can become very distracting from the main body of the text especially because it is difficult to appreciate their poetic merit in translation. Nonetheless, abounding in numerous anecdotes, the work is especially fascinating when read as a historical text as it offers a glimpse into a past that is to us forever lost.