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New Medieval Books: Fate the Hunter

Fate the Hunter: Early Arabic Hunting Poems

Edited and translated by James E. Montgomery

New York University Press
ISBN: 9781479825257

A collection of 26 poems and one prose piece from the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras, focused on hunting, a hugely important activity among the Arabs. The poems offer insights into hunters and animals – their prey and the animals trained to assist the hunt.


Fate the Hunter includes editions and translations of twenty-six poems that I have selected not with a view to providing an account of the origins and development of the tardiyyah as a genre, but rather to exploring some of the early semiotic and thematic contours of the hunting complex that later tardiyyat looked to and drew from. They include three poems that do not contain what we would classify strictly as hunting scenes when considered in terms of the genre. I chose these poems both for their descriptions of nonhumans and for how they are informed by and predicated upon the hunting complex. They also happen to be poems I am especially fond of.


Who is this book for?

Part of the Library of Arabic Literature series, this book is another addition to this fine collection of translations from the medieval Arabic world. Besides those interested in early medieval poetry, this book can be useful for those learning about hunting in the Middle Ages.

The author:

James E. Montgomery is Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge. He has already done several other translations for this series, and will have a sequel to this book that explores hunting in the Abbasid era coming out later this year. Click here to see his university webpage.


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