‘Consorts of the Caliphs’: History Through the Writings of 39 Women


Consorts of the Caliphs — a history through the writings of thirty-nine women — is the newest Library of Arabic Literature title, officially forthcoming next month. A consciously non-canonical and collaborative effort, the book was discussed at several points during last Saturday’s LAL workshop, “A Corpus Not a Canon“:

1406056879508While Consorts is a short book, just 144 pages, it was a long time in coming. The project began more than a decade ago with a smaller, pre-LAL group.

After a start, the translation languished. But it was not forgotten: When Philip Kennedy wrote the grant proposal for the LAL, a note was added about a Consorts translation. Yet it was again lost among the proliferation of projects.

Still, the idea persisted: In December 2012, several LAL editors met in Abu Dhabi, along with poet Richard Sieburth, to discuss the writings of Consorts and to talk about the collaborative and reader-focused nature of what they were attempting. Over…

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