Abu Nuwas, the pre-eminent bacchic bard of the classical Arabic canon, was loved and reviled in equal measure for his lyrical celebration of Abbasid Baghdad's dissolute nightlife, his cutting satires of religion and the clergy, and the extraordinary range and virtuosity of his literary talent.
'Vintage Humour' contains approximately 120 translations, each replicating the monorhyme scheme of the originals, with commentary where appropriate, a brief history of the poet's life and times, and a glossary of the key themes, motifs, and running jokes of the poems themselves. Based on extensive research with both Arabic and English source materials, 'Vintage Humour' is an illuminating collection, of interest to both general and informed readers with an interest in Islamic studies, Arabic literature, and the history of Iraq and the Middle East.
Alex Rowell is a writer and translator based in Beirut, Lebanon, where he has contributed to media including The Daily Beast, The Economist, the BBC, and NOW Lebanon. His classical Arabic poetry translations have previously been published in the literary journal of the American University of Beirut. He tweets as @alexjrowell.