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A Culture of Desert Survival - Bailey, Clinton - Yale University Press
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A Culture of Desert Survival

Bedouin Proverbs from Sinai and the Negev

  • Clinton Bailey; Foreword by William W. Hallo
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For 3000 years the Bedouin people have conveyed the wisdom of their culture from one generation to the next by means of spoken proverbs. This anthology presents 1,350 of these proverbs, almost none of which have been heard outside the Bedouin world before. Clinton Bailey has collected Bedouin proverbs and documented the life and survival techniques of this hardy people during more than thirty years of fieldwork in the Negev and Sinai deserts. His is the only extensive written record of the rapidly disappearing Bedouin culture.

The rich treasury of proverbs is organized around various subjects relating to the primary theme of Bedouin life: survival under harsh desert conditions. Bailey presents each proverb in Arabic and English, situates it within Bedouin culture, and explains how it relates to economic, psychological, or social survival. He provides an unprecedented view of Bedouin life as well as insights into the wider Arab world and the Arabic language.

Clinton Bailey is visiting professor of Bedouin culture and Middle Eastern politics at Trinity College, Hartford. He has been an advocate and activist on behalf of Bedouin civil rights in Israel since 1978 and has served as consultant on Bedouin culture to the BBC, the British Museum, and the Museum of Bedouin Culture in Kibbutz Lahav, Israel. He is the author of Bedouin Poetry from Sinai and the Negev and many articles on Middle Eastern affairs.

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