Oral Poetry and Narratives from Central Arabia Online

Oral Poetry and Narratives from Central Arabia Online consists of the five volumes of P. Marcel Kurpershoek’s work on Bedouin poetry from Najd, published between 1994 and 2005. This work is the fruit of Kurpershoek’s almost twenty years of involvement with Arabian oral culture. In the work he discusses some of the striking features of the traditions collected, and their significance within the broader political, social, and cultural context of the tribal system stretching from Yemen to the Anatolian highlands.

In addition to the English translation of the oral text this work offers a complete transcription of the Arabic poems, based on taped records. The original recordings of the poets and transmitters have been added to this online version.

Contents from the 5 volumes:
  • The first volume contains the complete collection of oral poetry by ad-Dindān, a Bedouin poet of the Duwāsir tribe in southern Najd.
  • The second volume is devoted to the narratives told about and the poems composed by Šlēwīḥ al-ʿAṭāwi and his brother Bxīt, both famous desert knights in the middle and second half of the nineteenth century.
  • The third volume presents and analyses the work of four contemporary Bedouin poets of the Dawāsir tribe in southern Najd.
  • The fourth volume covers the oral traditions of the Dawāsir tribal confederation in the area of Wādī ad-Dawāsir, south of Riyadh.
  • The fifth volume contains a consolidated Glossary, comprising all data accumulated and integrated from the glossaries of the previous four volumes and has also been extended with many examples originating from corresponding Classical Arabic vocabulary, and additional Western sources.
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