By Joseph A. Massad

Sexual wish has lengthy performed a key position in Western judgments concerning the worth of Arab civilization. some time past, Westerners considered the Arab global as licentious, and Western intolerance of intercourse led them to model Arabs as decadent; yet as Western society grew to become extra sexually open, the supposedly prudish Arabs quickly grew to become seen as backward. instead of focusing solely on how those perspectives constructed within the West, in wanting Arabs Joseph A. Massad finds the background of the way Arabs represented their very own sexual wishes. To this goal, he assembles a huge and various compendium of Arabic writing from the 19th century to the current so as to chart the adjustments in Arab sexual attitudes and their hyperlinks to Arab notions of cultural history and civilization. a piece of extraordinary scope and erudition, Massad's chronicle of either the heritage and sleek diversifications of the talk over representations of sexual wishes and practices within the Arab international is a vital addition to our figuring out of a regularly oversimplified and vilified tradition. “A pioneering paintings on a truly well timed but frustratingly missed topic.... i do know of no different examine which could even start to examine with the element and scope of [this] work.”—Khaled El-Rouayheb, heart East record “In wanting Arabs, [Edward] Said's disciple Joseph A. Massad corroborates his mentor's thesis that orientalist writing was once racist and dehumanizing.... [Massad] brilliantly is going directly to hint the legacy of this racist, internalized, orientalist discourse as much as the present.”—Financial occasions

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18 INTRODUCTION Positing the Western historical trajectory as the only course to reach the telos of modernity, Laroui, while providing a scathing critique of Arabic literary production since the Nahdah, wonders “whence does this situation come, a situation that offers few opportunities for the creative liberty of Arab authors? ” He answers his own query by affirming, albeit ambivalently, that perhaps this depends, in the end, on the dimensions of this retardation? The larger this retardation, the more impossible its compensation on all levels .

Also, he uses the plural of jins, “ajnas” in a conventional way when referring to different ethnic groupings (256). Note also that when he speaks of “desire and progeny” in his later book Al-Murshid al-Amin Lil-Banat wa alBanin [The Safe Guide to Girls and Boys], he never uses the word jins to designate males and females but simply addresses the permitted pleasure within their marital relationship and desire for reproduction. See his Al-Murshid al-Amin Lil-Banat wa al-Banin [The Safe Guide to Girls and Boys], in Al-A mal al-Kamilah of Rifa ah al-Tahtawi, ed.

84. Aziz al- Azmah, “al-Turath wa al- Awlamah” [Heritage and Globalization], in Dunya al-Din fi Hadir al- Arab [The World of Religion in the Present of the Arabs] (Beirut: Dar al-Tali ah, 1996), especially 46 – 47. 85. , 10. 86. , 10 –11. 87. , 11. ” 88 The Syrian Marxist Yasin al-Hafiz goes even further by dividing the Arab world into different time zones. ” 89 Again, culture is the operative cause for backwardness, albeit a culture backed by capital. Hafiz, however, is not the first Arab thinker who subdivided the Arab world into different temporal regions.

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