Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded

Volume One

320 pages

January, 1970

ISBN: 9781479840212



Also available in


Arabic Literature

Part of the Library of Arabic Literature series


Yusuf al-Shirbini was a well-educated Egyptian from the eleventh/seventeenth century, thought to originate from the town of Shirbin, then a significant rural center in the eastern part of Delta. Little is known about him--including his social standing and profession--beyond Brains Confounded and two other extant texts: The Pearls (Al-La'ali' wa-l-durar) and The Casting Aside of the Clods for the Unstringing of the Pearls (Tarh al-madar li-hall al-la'ali' wa-l-durar.)

All books by Yusuf al-Shirbini

Humphrey Davies is an award-winning translator of some twenty works of modern Arabic literature, among them Alaa Al-Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building, four novels by Elias Khoury, including Gate of the Sun, and Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg over Leg. He has also made a critical edition, translation, and lexicon of the Ottoman-period Hazz al-quhuf bi-sharh qasid Abi Shaduf (Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded) by Yusuf al-Shirbini and compiled with a colleague an anthology entitled Al-‘ammiyyah al-misriyyah al-maktubah: mukhtarat min 1400 ila 2009 (Egyptian Colloquial Writing: selections from 1400 to 2009). He read Arabic at the University of Cambridge, received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and, previous to undertaking his first translation in 2003, worked for social development and research organizations in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Sudan. He is affiliated with the American University in Cairo, where he lives.

All books by Humphrey Davies

Youssef Rakha is an Egyptian novelist, poet, reporter, and photographer. His first novels to appear in English are The Crocodiles and The Book of the Sultan’s Seal, which won the 2015 Banipal Seif Ghobash Prize for Paul Starkey’s translation.

All books by Youssef Rakha