(Author) (Translator)
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Product Details

$29.95  $27.55
New York University Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.6 X 1.5 inches | 2.0 pounds
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About the Author

al-Ḥarīrī (Author)
Al-Ḥarīrī (d. 516/1122) was a poet, scholar, and government official from Basra, Iraq. He is celebrated for his virtuosity in producing rhymed prose narratives, the Maqāmāt.

Abdelfattah Kilito (Foreword by)
Abdelfattah Kilito is the author of several acclaimed studies of Arabic literature, including Arabs and the Art of Storytelling and a study of the maqāmāt genre. He is the recipient of the Great Moroccan Award, the Al Owais Award for Criticism and Literature Studies, and a Prix from the Académie Française.

Michael Cooperson (Translator)
Michael Cooperson is Professor of Arabic in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA. His translations include The Life of Ibn Ḥanbal by Ibn al-Jawzī for the Library of Arabic Literature, and The Author and His Doubles by the eminent Moroccan literary critic Abdelfattah Kilito.


"It's absolutely delightful...pure pleasure to read."
"To translate a work that has been called untranslatable for a thousand years requires more than just expertise in languages--it requires wit, creativity, and an ocean-deep reservoir of knowledge of history and literature and humanity. Michael Cooperson has all of that, plus the most essential, and rarest element: the courage to climb this Everest of world literature. The result isn't just a translation--it's a dazzling work of literary creation in its own right, with the linguistic gymnastics of Pale Fire, the genre-switching of Cloud Atlas, and the literary range of 2666."--Peter Sagal, Host of NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!
"One might describe al-Ḥarīrī's twelfth-century Arabic classic as 'Melville's Confidence-Man meets Queneau's Exercices de style, ' but in this remarkable Oulipean carnival of a translation by Michael Cooperson, there are so many other voices--and languages: Singlish, Spanglish, Shakespeare, middle management-speak, Harlem jive, the rogue's lexicon, Naijá... Impostures is a wild romp through languages and literatures, places and times, that bears out and celebrates Borges's dictum: 'Erudition is the modern form of the fantastic.'"--Esther Allen, translator of Zama, winner of the 2017 National Translation Award
"An astounding performance of literary skill...[A]n important translation of a criminally neglected work of world literature, and an impressive literary work in its own right."--Mada Masr
""[An] astounding new adaptation of the Maqāmāt of al-Harīrī... The verbal profusion is ludicrous, joyfully so. Speaking to an interviewer, Mr. Cooperson remarked that the Maqāmāt is 'a book that shows off everything that Arabic can do.' Impostures shows off English in the same flattering light, demonstrating its dynamism, its endurance, its mutability and its glorious, weedy wildness. In this way, a translation that is so brazen in its liberties is faithful to the spirit of the original.""--Wall Street Journal