Watch: Translating Desire: New Translation of the 12th-13th Century Mystic and Poet Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi

April 22, 2021

Michael Sells on his new translation of the 12th-13th Century Mystic and Poet Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi

A reading and conversation with Feisal G. Mohamed Michael Sells’s groundbreaking translations from classical and medieval Arabic include Desert Tracings: Six Classic Arabian Odes (1989) and Approaching the Qurʾan: The Early Revelations (2007). He has also edited The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, al-Andalus (2000), Early Islamic Mysticism (1996), and The New Crusades: Constructing the Muslim Enemy (2004) and is the author of Mystical Languages of Unsaying (1994) and The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia (1996). He is the Barrows Professor Emeritus of the History and Literature of Islam and professor emeritus of comparative literature at the University of Chicago Feisal G. Mohamed is Professor of English at Yale. His most recent book, Sovereignty (Oxford UP, 2020), explores the emergence of modern ideas on sovereign power through the writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell, among others. He is also the author of, among many books, In the Anteroom of Divinity: The Reformation of the Angels from Colet to Milton. “Michael Sells has produced a book of glories, poems like dry stones in reflecting water. This collection is both a visual experience for one who can’t read Arabic and a deep literary thrill for one who can open to these translations. The threads of Quranic sound are spread in patches on the pages. Here we see fulfilled a poetics of bewilderment. Without desire, where would the future be?” —Fanny Howe, author of Love and I: Poems

Presented by the Yale Departments of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Comparative Literature, the Whitney Humanities Center, and the Translation Initiative.

Use the code SELLS, good for 30% off the paperback (ISBN: 9780691181349) through June 30, 2021 when attendees enter it in the shopping cart on the Princeton University Press’s website.

Watch full event here: