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Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales

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Were it simply a collection of fascinating, previously unpublished folktales, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales would merit praise and attention because of its cultural rather than political approach to Palestinian studies. But it is much more than this. Over the course of several years they collected tales in the regions of the Galilee, Gaza, and the We Were it simply a collection of fascinating, previously unpublished folktales, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales would merit praise and attention because of its cultural rather than political approach to Palestinian studies. But it is much more than this. Over the course of several years they collected tales in the regions of the Galilee, Gaza, and the West Bank, determining which were the most widely known and appreciated and selecting the ones that best represented the Palestinian Arab folk narrative tradition. Great care has been taken with the translations to maintain the original flavor, humor, and cultural nuances of tales that are at once earthy and whimsical. The authors have also provided footnotes, an international typology, a comprehensive motif index, and a thorough analytic guide to parallel tales in the larger Arab tradition in folk narrative.


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Were it simply a collection of fascinating, previously unpublished folktales, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales would merit praise and attention because of its cultural rather than political approach to Palestinian studies. But it is much more than this. Over the course of several years they collected tales in the regions of the Galilee, Gaza, and the We Were it simply a collection of fascinating, previously unpublished folktales, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales would merit praise and attention because of its cultural rather than political approach to Palestinian studies. But it is much more than this. Over the course of several years they collected tales in the regions of the Galilee, Gaza, and the West Bank, determining which were the most widely known and appreciated and selecting the ones that best represented the Palestinian Arab folk narrative tradition. Great care has been taken with the translations to maintain the original flavor, humor, and cultural nuances of tales that are at once earthy and whimsical. The authors have also provided footnotes, an international typology, a comprehensive motif index, and a thorough analytic guide to parallel tales in the larger Arab tradition in folk narrative.

30 review for Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    A collection of forty-three Palestinian folktales, collected in the Galilee, Gaza, and the West Bank, and divided into five thematic groups devoted to: Individuals, Family, Society, Environment, and Universe. Some of these groups are further sub-divided, into categories such as Children and Parents (Individuals) or Husbands and Wives (Family). Such categorization allows Muhawi and Kanaana to provide afterwords for each section, in which the specific cultural themes of that group of tales is disc A collection of forty-three Palestinian folktales, collected in the Galilee, Gaza, and the West Bank, and divided into five thematic groups devoted to: Individuals, Family, Society, Environment, and Universe. Some of these groups are further sub-divided, into categories such as Children and Parents (Individuals) or Husbands and Wives (Family). Such categorization allows Muhawi and Kanaana to provide afterwords for each section, in which the specific cultural themes of that group of tales is discussed. Speak Bird, Speak Again also includes a useful cultural overview in the introduction, as well as a section devoted to folkloric analysis of each tale, in which themes, motifs and variants are given. This was a fascinating book - a very effective and scholarly ethnographic folktale collection. From a purely cerebral perspective, I found it quite enjoyable, and felt that I learned something about (traditional) Palestinian culture. Unfortunately, I did not always enjoy the stories in their own right, which surprised me, as folklore is usually one of my favorite genres. But the frequency of violence directed against women in these stories - the beating of wives, in particular - and the casual acceptance of same, was quite disturbing, all the more so when one considers that these tales are regularly told to young children. I appreciated the authors' points about the agency of women (ie: that they do not simply accept their fate passively), but I was somewhat skeptical of some of the ideas put forward about women's "power." I'm not sorry I read this collection, as I found it very informative, but I can't say it was especially enjoyable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zahra Rasheed

    3.5 ⭐️ I’ve read the Arabic version of the book; with different Palestinian dialects. The folktales themselves were entertaining, but as a child I grew up hearing very similar stories to most them. The study and analyses, however, were interesting and well organized for those who aren’t familiar with the customs and culture of the region.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beth Dillon

    This collection of folktales was a joy to read. They were magical and complex, poetic and formulaic. And the cultural context that the authors included was instrumental in providing me with a complete picture of Palestinian culture. For example, to know that many of the tellers were women, changes the implication of many of the tales, especially as they were told to children. To understand their position within their families, their communities, and their culture, infuses the tales with a power This collection of folktales was a joy to read. They were magical and complex, poetic and formulaic. And the cultural context that the authors included was instrumental in providing me with a complete picture of Palestinian culture. For example, to know that many of the tellers were women, changes the implication of many of the tales, especially as they were told to children. To understand their position within their families, their communities, and their culture, infuses the tales with a power that I would have completely missed had the careful analysis not been provided. An enchanting read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    torque

    Fairy tales are often strange. This collection is no exception. And although many fairy tales are the same story with different settings and various twist, this was a collection of many new stories I've never heard before. Another interesting aspect of this collection is that the author of this collection has put the stories to paper unaltered. A big portion of the book is trying to explain the society and culture of the Palestinians, which helps an outsider to understand the stories better. The Fairy tales are often strange. This collection is no exception. And although many fairy tales are the same story with different settings and various twist, this was a collection of many new stories I've never heard before. Another interesting aspect of this collection is that the author of this collection has put the stories to paper unaltered. A big portion of the book is trying to explain the society and culture of the Palestinians, which helps an outsider to understand the stories better. The kindle version contained quite a few of errors from the digitalization process.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This is one of the best folktale collections I've come across in quite some time. In addition to wonderful, fascinating and complex stories, there are extensive footnotes, illuminating afterwards to each grouping, as well as a lengthy introduction full of cultural background on a variety of aspects of the tales, mostly concerning the familiar relationships that exist in Palestinian Arab culture. The stories are earthy, raw and engaging, told mostly by old women who are the keepers of this folk a This is one of the best folktale collections I've come across in quite some time. In addition to wonderful, fascinating and complex stories, there are extensive footnotes, illuminating afterwards to each grouping, as well as a lengthy introduction full of cultural background on a variety of aspects of the tales, mostly concerning the familiar relationships that exist in Palestinian Arab culture. The stories are earthy, raw and engaging, told mostly by old women who are the keepers of this folk art which encapsules values dear to Arab culture yet also constantly overturns the typically male-dominating Arab tradition. This book was worth buying, and is a shining example of how folktale collections should be put together.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Danusha Goska

    Please buy this book. Strange to being a review with an appeal. Here's why: There is great tension between the Arab-Muslim world and others, and this book offers insights other books won't offer you. The authors are themselves Arabs and scholars from the Middle East. The book's 48-page introduction offers a detailed peek into traditional, Muslim, Arab, peasant culture. The folktales in the anthology are delightful. They could be enjoyed by children and savored by adults. There are lighthearted h Please buy this book. Strange to being a review with an appeal. Here's why: There is great tension between the Arab-Muslim world and others, and this book offers insights other books won't offer you. The authors are themselves Arabs and scholars from the Middle East. The book's 48-page introduction offers a detailed peek into traditional, Muslim, Arab, peasant culture. The folktales in the anthology are delightful. They could be enjoyed by children and savored by adults. There are lighthearted humor, adventure, deep morals, glittering rewards, and, again, insights into Muslim life. If you liked Cinderella, in any of her retellings – and who doesn't like Cinderella – you'll love these tales. The Politically Correct Thought Police insist that any criticism of Islam must be condemned as that highly suspect, all too convenient neologism, "Islamophobia." The Politically Correct Thought Police are fully of baloney, and resistance to them is highest virtue. I am Spartacus, and you are, too. Of course you can critique Islam and still not hate Muslims, indeed can like and even love Muslims. How do I know? Many of my most beloved family members were not only Communist Party members, they were local leaders in the CP in (the then so named) Czechoslovakia. I criticized Communism. I marched in anti-Soviet demonstrations. And I loved my Communist relatives. They criticized my belief systems: capitalism, Western Democracy, Catholicism. And they loved me. Yes, you can critique a person's, or a polity's, belief system, and still like, love, or be peacefully indifferent to those who adhere to that belief system. In any case, yes, you should read Robert Spencer to understand what the mainstream press is not telling you about Islam. But you should also read this book to cultivate a genuine love of the aspirations, honor, complexity and full humanity of traditional, Muslim, Arab culture. Understanding its treatment of women is central to understanding Islam, and Muhawi and Kanaana offer deep and unapologetic insight into Islam's treatment of women. As the late, great folklore scholar Alan Dundes demonstrated, folklore reveals the suppressed desires of those who disseminate it. In Arab folktales, Muslim women reveal how they really feel about polygyny, the practice of one man taking more than one wife. Polygyny, the authors state, "more than any other institution or practice, represents the power of men over women" (14). Women are not happy with it, and in folktales told by women, polygynist husbands pay a price for their lack of fidelity to one wife. "In none of the tales is polygyny presented in a good light" (14). Muslim women reveal how they feel about the favoritism bestowed on male children. In the tales told by women, in contrast to real life, families celebrate the birth of daughters (18). In the tales, female characters reveal an intelligence, an adventurousness, an ability to solve problems, denied them in real life. As the authors put it: "The tales empower the women who narrate them to traverse, in their speech, the bounds of social convention" (12). In the tales, as opposed to real life, women are active and men are passive (18, 36). In the tales, in contrast to real life, women pursue romantic and sexual encounters, choose their own husbands, and experience and value romance, rather than just submitting to sex as part of marital obedience and a way to increase the number of people in a clan, thus increasing its power (27, 32, 34). In the tales, women take lovers, and behave "permissively and playfully" with them (35). In spite of the strictures that Islam imposes on women's freedom of movement, in the tales, women undertake journeys (31). The authors identify women as "the other" in Muslim, Arab culture (14). Important social bonds are between men. Women's outsider status is marked by their never taking their husband's names. They are not, strictly speaking, part of the very households in which they live. "At no time in her life is a woman considered to live in her own space … [women] are considered strangers" in their own homes (17). The patriarch's control of "his" females is so all pervasive that "mother's milk belongs not to her but to her husband" (37). The authors' helpful comments also emphasize the importance in Muslim, Arab culture on the collective as the basis of society, not the individual, and the emphasis on fate: "Each person's fortune is written on the forehead at the moment of birth" (44). The tales are, simply, wonderful. The heroes are clever – one sits between thorn bushes and under a dripping bag of water to keep from falling asleep – the ghouls and genies are scary, and the treasures are worth all the adventure it took to gain them. The total enjoyment a non-Muslim, non-Arab reader can gain from these tales is testimony to our common humanity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sanabel Atya

    قول يا طير،، عنوان لكتاب قد سبب جدلاً في الوسط الثقافي الفلسطيني في السنوات القليلة الماضية.... أذكر أن الجدل قد جاء، حينما قد تقرر "إعدام" الكتاب بقرار وزاري.. من المرافق التعليمية. كتاب قول يا طير،، كتاب يستعرض القصة الشعبية الفلسطينية، بعرض 45 قصة بأكثر النماذج الشائعة للقصص الشعبية... كتاب نسخته الأولى كانت انجليزية،، وما لبثت أن جاءت النسخة العربية عن مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية.. وبحضور الكاتبان... وبهذا، أضحى هذا الكتاب هو الأول في القصص الشعبي في الوطن العربي، متوفراً للجمهور باللغة العربية قول يا طير،، عنوان لكتاب قد سبب جدلاً في الوسط الثقافي الفلسطيني في السنوات القليلة الماضية.... أذكر أن الجدل قد جاء، حينما قد تقرر "إعدام" الكتاب بقرار وزاري.. من المرافق التعليمية. كتاب قول يا طير،، كتاب يستعرض القصة الشعبية الفلسطينية، بعرض 45 قصة بأكثر النماذج الشائعة للقصص الشعبية... كتاب نسخته الأولى كانت انجليزية،، وما لبثت أن جاءت النسخة العربية عن مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية.. وبحضور الكاتبان... وبهذا، أضحى هذا الكتاب هو الأول في القصص الشعبي في الوطن العربي، متوفراً للجمهور باللغة العربية. إذن،لماذا أُعدم الكتاب؟! قالوا أنّ السبب احتوائه على كلمات مخلة بالآداب العامة،ومن الخطأ أن تُنشر.. وما إلى ذلك. ليكن،، أليس الأمر برمته،تراثاً شعبياً،يُناطح العالم ليبقى على السطح،بدل طمسه واستغلاله؟! ألسنا نتفوه بالكلمات التي صُنفت على أنها "مخلة بالحياء العام" في الحياة اليومية..؟! فَلِمَ العجب؟ وهذه الفوضى التي انتشرت لأجل "كم كلمة" نسمعها في الشارع بكثرة.! هنالك رأي معارض، قال ما المنع إلا وسيلةً لطمس التراث الفلسطيني. ~~~~~~~~ عما احتواه الكتاب.. احتوى 45 قصة، محكية باللغة العامة الدارجة في فلسطين.. ويا لدهشتي عندما وجدت أن أكثر الكلمات هي واحدة من اقصى الشمال إلى اقصى الجنوب الفلسطيني. :) بعد كل مجموعة قصصية،،هنالك تحليل للقصص بما يتناسب مع الوضع الاجتماعي الفلسطيني، و لولا هذا التحليل لما فهمتُ مغزى أكثر القصص :D في آخر الكتاب.. هنالك تحليل وتصنيف للقصص بما يتناسب مع التصنيفات العالمية، مع ذكر القصص الشعبية المماثلة لكل قصة في التراث العربي والعالمي.. "هذه الجزئية لم أقرأها" فقد اكتفيت من القصص... وهي مهمة للباحثين أكثر. ~~~~~~ يبقى السؤال الأكبر.. كيف لي أن أحفظ كل هذه القصص؟ التكرار بيعلم الشطار... قد نحظى بفرصة أخرى للتكرار. أو أن الطريقة المثلى،، جمعٌ من الأطفال ليُسرد عليه ما يُناسبه من القصص :D ~~~~~~على الهامش// الكثير من القصص التي وردت في الكتاب، تُعرض على شكل مسرحي على تلفزيون فلسطين،، رغم أنا نمقت هذا التلفزيون،، إلا أنه.. تلفزيون وطنيٌّ تراثيٌّ بامتياز.. لا يفتأ أن يعرض التراث بعدة أشكال. ~~~~~ كانت تجربةً ممتعةً بحق... وكم أحبُّ اللهجة العامية الفلسطينية ^_^

  8. 5 out of 5

    mahatmanto

    belum semuanya kebaca, tapi aduuh... lucu-lucu dan mengharukan... buku ini adalah bentuk textual dari kisah yang semestinya kita nikmati sambil mendengarkan dan melihat bagaimana pencerita memeragakan kisahnya. berupa kumpulan cerita yang direkam sebagaimana dikisahkan oleh ibu-ibu rumah tangga dan beberapa orang lain yang dalam dirinya mengendap kisah, legenda, pengajaran yang hidup dan memengaruhi hidup keluarganya. tradisi lisan palestini ini di mana-mana sama: tersimpan dengan baik dalam ingatan belum semuanya kebaca, tapi aduuh... lucu-lucu dan mengharukan... buku ini adalah bentuk textual dari kisah yang semestinya kita nikmati sambil mendengarkan dan melihat bagaimana pencerita memeragakan kisahnya. berupa kumpulan cerita yang direkam sebagaimana dikisahkan oleh ibu-ibu rumah tangga dan beberapa orang lain yang dalam dirinya mengendap kisah, legenda, pengajaran yang hidup dan memengaruhi hidup keluarganya. tradisi lisan palestini ini di mana-mana sama: tersimpan dengan baik dalam ingatan para ibu. diteruskan pada anak cucu di dalam kehangatan keluarga. keren dah!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Esraa

    اللهجة الفلسطينية غير :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heba

    I read this book years ago ! Fascinating one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    M.A. Guglielmo

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marcy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amina

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yamila

  18. 4 out of 5

    Terry Polston

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anca

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aladdin Elaasar

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amal

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shereen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ossama Alami

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rainey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Herndon

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  28. 5 out of 5

    Troy Knapp

  29. 4 out of 5

    BZ George

  30. 5 out of 5

    شادي Rohana

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