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Translation 2021

Michael Cooperson

United States

An American author and translator, Cooperson studied at Harvard University and the American University of Cairo, and currently a professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published two monographs on early Abbasid cultural history: ‘Classical Arabic Biography’ and ‘Al-Ma'mun’. In addition to Impostures, he has translated Abdelfattah Kilito's ‘L'Auteur et ses doubles (The Author and his Doubles)’ and Ibn al-Jawzi's ‘Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal)’. His other interests include Maltese language and culture.

About The Book

A bold, mature and innovative approach to translation that enabled Michael Cooperson to understand Maqamat Al-Hariri more intimately than anyone else, and to appreciate it as a treasure of Arab heritage. Cooperson succeeded in evading the trap of literal translation that can be injurious or altogether destructive to the very heart it is meant to communicate. Moreover, Cooperson has remarkably transferred the sentiments, ideas and expressions wholesale into English, even with a difficult work that is heavily reliant on a rhyme scheme. Another notable fact about this translation is the more liberated use of English with its local dialects, such as those of the UK, Singapore and the US. This facilitated translating the book at various levels of English-language fluency, culminating in the development of creative and expressive techniques. The translator's profound familiarity with Arabic literature, as well as his vast experience as a translator, have contributed to the creation of a dynamic work of literature that positions Maqamat Al-Hariri in its right place.

Published: 2020