The Book of Misers


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  • Author: Al-Jahiz
  • ISBN: 1859641415

Al-Jahiz (AH 160/AD 776 to AH 225/AD 869) was one of the greatest exponents of Arabic prose of all time. His scholarship, the breadth of his interests, and his ability to express his ideas and arguments with vigour and humour were outstanding; 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 his 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. It will appeal to the modern reader for its comical power, sometimes overt and sometimes straight-faced, which remains undiminished 1,100 years after it was written.