This is a multimedia history of literary Arabic that describes the evolution of Arabic poetry and prose in the context of music, ritual performance, the arts, and architecture. It is written for scholars and educated readers of Arabic and Islamic culture whose first language is not Arabic. It also might be useful for native Arabic speakers who are interested in knowing how their heritage is portrayed from a global and comparative perspective. This work focuses on what is unique about Arabic compared to other major languages of the world (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, English and Spanish) and how the distinct characteristics of Arabic took shape at various points of its history. The book provides a linguistic and cultural background for understanding social and political institutions and religious beliefs and practices in the Middle East.