Download 10,000+ Books in Arabic, All Completely Free, Digitized and Put Online

If you’ve con­sid­ered learn­ing a new lan­guage to open up a new realm of read­ing, you could do much worse than Ara­bic. Though its mas­tery may demand a con­sid­er­able amount of time, it repays the invest­ment as the lan­guage of not just a coun­try but an entire region of the world, and a region with a deep tex­tu­al his­to­ry at that. Any­one inter­est­ed in becom­ing a stu­dent of Ara­bic, casu­al­ly or seri­ous­ly, can get their start at our col­lec­tion of Ara­bic lessons avail­able free online, and when up to speed on read­ing might con­sid­er a vis­it to Ara­bic Col­lec­tions Online (ACO), a dig­i­tal library of Ara­bic-lan­guage texts now boast­ing 10,042 vol­umes across 6,265 sub­jects, all of them also avail­able free online.

With a list of con­tribut­ing part­ners includ­ing insti­tu­tions in both Amer­i­ca (New York Uni­ver­si­ty, Prince­ton, Cor­nell, Colum­bia) and the Mid­dle East (the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty in Cairo, the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty of Beirut and Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates Nation­al Archives) — and, as ArabLit notesa $1.34 mil­lion grant received last August — ACO “aims to dig­i­tize, pre­serve, and pro­vide free open access to a wide vari­ety of Ara­bic lan­guage books in sub­jects such as lit­er­a­ture, phi­los­o­phy, law, reli­gion, and more.”

This mis­sion address­es not just a lack of wide­ly avail­able Ara­bic texts on the web, but the con­di­tion of much of the mate­r­i­al dig­i­tized, as “many old­er Ara­bic books are out-of-print, in frag­ile con­di­tion, and are oth­er­wise rare mate­ri­als that are in dan­ger of being lost.”

Though clear­ly an ever more valu­able resource for stu­dents of Ara­bic, ACO has much more to offer those already acquaint­ed with the joys of the lan­guage. ArabLit specif­i­cal­ly points out two of its fea­tured Egypt­ian titles this month, Taw­fiq al-Hakim’s Return of the Spir­it (عودة الروح), which Eng­lish trans­la­tor William May­nard Hutchins describes as “a glo­ri­ous­ly Roman­tic trib­ute to the sol­i­dar­i­ty of the Egypt­ian peo­ple of all class­es and reli­gions and to their good taste and excel­lent sense of humor,” andCol­ors (ألوان) by Taha Hus­sein, one of the coun­try’s most influ­en­tial intel­lec­tu­als of the 20th cen­tu­ry. But the full scope of Ara­bic-lan­guage lit­er­a­ture, as the already vast hold­ings of Ara­bic Col­lec­tions Online reveals, extends beyond Egypt, and far indeed beyond the past cou­ple of cen­turies. To those about to explore it,bil-taw­fiq.

via Goodread­er

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Ara­bic Lessons

How Ara­bic Trans­la­tors Helped Pre­serve Greek Phi­los­o­phy … and the Clas­si­cal Tra­di­tion

The Only Sur­viv­ing Text Writ­ten in Ara­bic by an Amer­i­can Slave Has Been Dig­i­tized & Put Online: Read the Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of Enslaved Islam­ic Schol­ar, Omar Ibn Said (1831)

70,000+ Reli­gious Texts Dig­i­tized by Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Let­ting You Immerse Your­self in the Curi­ous Works of Great World Reli­gions

A Map Show­ing How Much Time It Takes to Learn For­eign Lan­guages: From Eas­i­est to Hard­est

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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