City of Beginnings: Poetic Modernism in Beirut

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Product Details
Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author
Robyn Creswell is assistant professor of comparative literature at Yale University and a former poetry editor at the Paris Review. His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and Harper's Magazine, among many other publications. He is the translator of Abdelfattah Kilito's The Tongue of Adam and Sonallah Ibrahim's "That Smell" and "Notes from Prison."
"Winner of the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University"

City of Beginnings offers a plethora of sophisticated and accessible close readings of modernist poetry. Creswell weaves them deftly into the cold war context and the shifting political and cultural struggles of the day. . . . Creswell's well-researched book will be a yardstick for years to come of how to
combine literary criticism and intellectual history of the Arab world.

"---Jens Hanssen, Journal of Arabic Literature
"Beirut has been overlooked in classic histories of modernism, yet Creswell . . . has remedied this with eloquence and erudition in his study of how a group of exiles, iconoclasts, and émigrés--al-Khal, Adonis, and the Lebanese poet Unsi al-Hajj foremost among them--radically transformed Arabic poetry."---Anna Della Subin, New York Review of Books
"A pleasure to read, both for the lucidity of its prose as for the tacit but evident sympathy of imagination that enlivens it throughout. Creswell's translations are exact but nuanced. . . . Creswell succeeds admirably in his initial aim. He has set Modernist Beirut firmly on the map."---Eric Ormsby, Etudes Asiatiques
"In this extraordinary and original work, Robyn Creswell combines poetry criticism and intellectual history to produce one of the finest accounts of Arab modernism."---Qussay al-Attabi, International Journal of Middle East Studies
"Robyn Creswell's new book on Arabic Modernism, City of Beginnings, is half a Cold War thriller starring poets . . . [and] half . . . applied theory. Creswell's book is worth your time . . . it creates a space for Arabic Modernism in avant-garde poetics departments in English speaking countries."---Devin Kin, Fence Digital
"[Robyn] Creswell's City of Beginnings is a story of [an] irreverent, incandescent Beirut, of a coterie of young Arabophone writers, cosmopolitan iconoclasts who made [a] Beirut of multiple identities home. . . . To the student of the Middle East, Arabic literature, literary modernism, or Near Eastern intellectual history, this book is a learned, nuanced, and deeply searching guide."---Franck Salameh, Middle East Quarterly
"The best parts of Creswell's book are when he just describes what's at stake for Adonis and the other modernists as writers. Creswell knows the underreported Arabic literary history cold and the book's explainer sections transfix."-- "Fence"
"Robyn Creswell's City of Beginnings is a threshold and a beginning in the study of Arabic poetry, heralding a creative and erudite approach to the achievements and shortcomings of Arabic modernism."-- "Arab Studies Journal"
"To the student of the Middle East, Arabic literature, literary modernism, or Near Eastern intellectual history, this book is a learned, nuanced, and deeply searching guide."-- "Middle East Quarterly"