The notion of identity - personal, religious, ethnic or national - is one that has given rise to heated passions and crimes throughout the history of mankind. What it is that makes each one of us unique and dissimilar to any other individual has been one of the fundamental questions of philosophy from Socrates to Freud. In this important series of reflections, the author, a Lebanese who now lives in France, where he is a well-known writer and commentator, considers how we define ourselves and how identity is understood in the world's different cultures.
Amin Maalouf's fiction includes Leo the African, Rock of Tanios, which won the 1993 Prix Goncourt, Samarkand and Ports of Call. He is also the author of an acclaimed scholarly work, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, as well as the much admired essay, 'On Identity'. Barbara Bray has twice won the Scott-Moncrieff Prize, as well as the French-American Foundation Prize, for her translations. These include The Lover by Marguerite Duras, The Concert by Ismail Kadare, and George Sand's letters in Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence.