Click on image above to enlarge

From Abu Nuwas to Hafiz

Jones, William Poeseos Asiaticae commentariorum libri sex, cum appendice; subjicitur Limon seu miscellaneorum liber. London T. Cadell 1774
First edition. 8vo (23 x 14.5 cm), pp.[iv], xxxi, [1, blank], 542, [1, errata; 1, blank], 3 engraved plates of Chinese, Arabic, and Persian scripts. With printed Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, and Persian text. A very good copy bound in 20th-century half calf over cloth. Some spotting.

An important critical work on Arabic and Persian poetry, providing sample texts from pre-Islamic poetry to Ferdowsi and Abu Nuwas. This was the first serious application of Robert Lowth's methodology in the study of Hebrew poetry to Arabic and Persian poetry. William Jones (1746-1794) was the foremost British orientalist of the 18th century, whose numerous works laid the ground for the next generation of British scholars in the field. Though he had already published several essays on the subject of "oriental" poetry by 1774, this was his first systematic treatment of the subject. Of particular interest is his use of comparison to set classical Islamic poetry on an equal footing with that of Graeco-Roman antiquity, with Homer matched to Ferdowsi and Catullus linked to the vituperative poems of the pre-Islamic Arabia.