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Arabic literature

Welcome! This guide focuses on useful sources for the study of classical and contemporary Arabic literature. It is tailored to the courses offered by the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies.


Anthology of Arabic literature, culture, and thought from pre-Islamic times to the present. Edited by Bassam Frangieh. Yale University Press, 2005. Print.

The Arabic literature entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online is a long and well-researched article. Electronic resource.

Arab Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide, 1873-1999. Edited by Raḍwá ʻĀshūr et al. Translated by Mandy McClure, American University in Cairo Press, 2008. Print.

Classical Arabic Literature: a Library of Arabic Literature Anthology presents a rich assortment of classical Arabic poems and literary prose, from pre-Islamic times until the 18th century, with short introductions to guide non-specialist students and informative end notes and bibliography for advanced scholars. Electronic resource.

Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics is an interdisciplinary research tool covering all aspects of Arabic languages and linguistics. It is full-text searchable and has a browsable index. Electronic resource.

Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures (EWIC) is an interdisciplinary, trans-historical, and global research tool aiming to cover any topic relating to women and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations. Electronic resource.

Makar, Ragai N. Modern Arabic Literature: A Bibliography. Scarecrow Press, 1998. Electronic resource.

Meisami, Julie Scott, and Paul Starkey. Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. London ; New York : Routledge, 1998. Print.

The Poetry Encyclopedia (الموسوعة الشعرية) is an online collection of poetry in Arabic language that currently includes over 150,000 poems by more than 4,000 poets from all over the Arab World. Electronic resource.


Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online gives access to reliable information on literary authors and their works, placing them in the larger historical perspective.

Lughatuna (Living Arabic Project) is a website showing Arabic as a living language allowing users to search simultaneously in classical and dialectal (Egyptian, Levantine & North African) dictionaries.

Oxford Arabic Dictionary: Arabic-English - English-Arabic. First edition. Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.

Wahba, Magdi. A Dictionary of literary Terms: (English-French-Aarabic), with French and Arabic Indexes. Beyrouth : Librairie Du Liban, 1974. Print.

Wehr, Hans, et al. A Dictionary of modern written Arabic (Arabic-English). 4th edition, considerably enlarged and amended by the author; 1980 reprint. ed., Harrassowitz, 1979. Print.


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