Leg over Leg or the Turtle in the Tree: Concerning the Fariyaq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be - Vol. 4

Leg over Leg or the Turtle in the Tree: Concerning the Fariyaq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be - Vol. 4

Leg over Leg or the Turtle in the Tree: Concerning the Fariyaq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be - Vol. 4

Leg over Leg or the Turtle in the Tree: Concerning the Fariyaq, What Manner of Creature Might He Be - Vol. 4

Synopsis

Leg over Leg recounts the life, from birth to middle age, of 'the Fariyaq,' alter ego of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, a pivotal figure in the intellectual and literary history of the modern Arab world. The always edifying and often hilarious adventures of the Fariyaq, as he moves from his native Lebanon to Egypt, Malta, Tunis, England and France, provide the author with grist for wide-ranging discussions of the intellectual and social issues of his time, including the ignorance and corruption of the Lebanese religious and secular establishments, freedom of conscience, women's rights, sexual relationships between men and women, the manners and customs of Europeans and Middle Easterners, and the differences between contemporary European and Arabic literatures. Al-Shidyaq also celebrates the genius and beauty of the classical Arabic language. Akin to Sterne and Rabelais in his satirical outlook and technical inventiveness, al-Shidyaq produced in Leg Over Leg a work that is unique and unclassifiable. It was initially widely condemned for its attacks on authority, its religious skepticism, and its "obscenity," and later editions were often abridged. This is the first English translation of the work and reproduces the original Arabic text, published under the author's supervision in 1855.

Excerpt

Likewise, when food of just one kind is placed before you, think only of that and know well that others too are dining at this hour, and perhaps on something more meager still. If you do so, you will find solace and distraction. If, however, you lift your eyes to the palaces of kings and princes and the mansions of ministers and wonder what they are eating and drinking, you will certainly tire and torment yourself to no avail. Do you really imagine that the aged wine drunk by the prince is more delicious than the water you are drinking, so long as you are informed as to the affairs of this world and the next and are proficient in the management of some business of yours that provides for yourself and your family, so long as your wife sits before you or on your right or left while your small child sits on your knee, singing to you one moment, passing you with his sweet hand anything you may have asked your wife to give you the next, and so long as on your departure, they accompany you to the door and on your arrival, take you upstairs and seat you on the best cushion in the house?

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