The Book of Misers: Al-Bukhala




One of the greatest exponents of Arabic prose of all time, Al-Jahiz is also know for his scholarship, the breadth of his interests, and his ability to express his ideas and arguments with vigour and humour. The Book of Misers is his comical masterpiece, and one of the earliest works of fiction from the Islamic world. Generosity is regarded by Arab society as one of the principle virtues, and this satire on miserliness has a clear social purpose. With acute powers of observation, light-hearted scepticism, his comic sense and satirical turn of mind, he ridicules both individuals and groups such as school-masters, singers or scribes. In addition, there is much incidental detail about traditional culture and conduct. This translation makes this work available to the English-speaking world for the first time.