A splendidly translated exploration of major themes in classical Arabic literature by the most inventive and provocative critic of Arabic literature in the Middle East today. In this exceptional volume, Abedlfattah Kilito argues that genre - not authorship - is at the heart of classic Arabic literature. Using simple yet lyrical language, he examines love poetry and panegyric, the Prophet's Hadith and the literary anecdote, as well as such recurring themes as memorization, plagiarism and forgery, and dream visions of the dead. Ultimately, he evokes these as an allegory for post-colonial Arab North Africa. An elegant translation faithfully captures the author's poetic finesse and makes the book easily accessible to English-speaking readers. Warmly received by critics and anthropologists, this volume is a must for scholars, students, and devotees of Arab culture.