Violence and IslamConversations with Houria Abdelouahed
Violence and Islam
Conversations with Houria Abdelouahed
Translated by David Watson

Adonis influence on Arabic literature has been likened to that of T. S. Eliot in the English-speaking world. Yet alongside this spearheading of a modernist literary revolution, the secular Syrian-born poet is also renowned for his persistent and staunch attacks on despotism across the Arab world.

In these conversations with the psychoanalyst Houria Abdelouahed, Adonis brings into sharp relief the latest wave of violence and war to engulf Arabic countries, tracing the cause of ongoing tensions back to the beginnings of Islam itself. Since the death of the prophet Muhammad, Islam has been used as a political and economic weapon, exploiting and reinforcing tribal divisions to aid the pursuit of power. Adonis argues that recent events in the Middle East ? from the failures of the Arab Spring to the rise of ISIS and the bloody war in his native Syria ? attest to the destructive effects of an Islamic worldview that prohibits any notion of plurality and breeds violence. If there is to be any hope of peace or progress in the Arab world, it is therefore imperative that these mentalities are overcome. In their place, Adonis urges a new spirit of enquiry, embodied in the freedoms to interrogate the past and to question cultural norms.

Adonis penetrating analysis comes at a critical time, offering an alternative path to the cycle of violence that plagues the Arab world today.

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  • September 2016
  • 180 pages
  • 145 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
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  • Hardback $12.95
  • 9781509511907
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  • 9781509511938
Table of Contents


A Spring without Swallows

The Necessity of Rereading: History and Identity

Rethinking the Fundamentals

What does the foundational text say?

Women and the windings of the Text

Beyond Economic and Geopolitical Interests: The Drives

The West: Passionately, Madly

Art, Myth, Religion

Poetry between Language and Precept

Beyond Al-Kit b

How to Conclude?

A Last Word

Against essentialism

The notion of progress in the Islamic conception of man and the world



About the Author
Adonis was born in 1930 in Qassabine, Syria and has been writing poetry for seventy years. His work has been recognised with numerous international accolades, including the Goethe Prize in 2011.
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Todays most daring and provocative Arab poet.
Edward Said

The Arab world's greatest living poet.
New York Times

Faith is like love, Adonis tells us; it falls within personal experience. Violence and Islam explores a multiplicity of modern interpretations that give rise to forms of faith and forms of barbarity. Adonis, in his powerful secular voice, here again proves why he is one of the most important literary figures of our times.'
V.S. Naipaul
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