Ibn Dāniyāl, one of the world’s major dramatists, still remains, centuries after his death, almost unknown to theatre scholars. Although a number of European plays from the thirteenth century are now accepted as a standard part of our medieval heritage, these Arabic dramas from the same period have never been translated into English and have been totally excluded from standard works of theatre history, partly due to the widespread but erroneous assumption among theatre scholars that no significant dramatic literature was produced by the Arab world before the modern colonial period. This collection seeks to contribute to the rectification of this long-standing oversight by providing, for the first time in English, a translation of the three extant plays of Ibn Dāniyāl, The Shadow Spirit, The Amazing Preacher and the Stranger, and The Love-Stricken One and the Lost One Who Inspires Passion. Their literary sophistication and their range of tonalities from intense lyricism to surprising use of obscenity and scatology place Ibn Dāniyāl in the company of such Western innovators as Aristophanes and Rabelais.
Translated and Edited by Safi Mahfouz and Marvin Carlson