The Book of Misers


Abu Uthman Amr ibn Bahr al-Kinani (776–869 AD; 163–255 AH), nicknamed Al-Jahiz for his bulging eyes, was a leading literary figure who lived during the early Abbasid era. He was born and died in Basra, Iraq. It was said that his grandfather was a slave from East Africa. Al-Jahiz was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from theology, to politics, to manners, who left many highly significant works. He is credited with having profoundly shaped the rules of Arabic prose. Al-bukhalaa (The book of misers) is considered a scientific, literary, social, historical, and geographic encyclopedia, in which al-Jahiz told stories about tightfisted people, whom he encountered, although some of his characters are thought to be imaginary as well. In vigorous comic prose, he ridiculed the greed of schoolmasters, singers, scribes, and beggars. Taking a nonjudgmental attitude, he described his characters in a realistic, astute, and humorous way, portraying them as good-natured but naive.

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510 pages ; 24 centimeters


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 491-510) and indexes.

Last updated: August 12, 2016