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Dr Emily Selove

Senior Lecturer of Medieval Arabic Language and Literature


01392 725259

 Emily Selove received her PhD in 2012 from the University of California in Los Angeles in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and her BA from Cornell University. Her work has focused on the figure of the uninvited guest (or "party-crasher") in medieval Arabic literature, and especially on Hikayat Abi l-Qasim (probably written in the 11th century). She published a monograph comparing this work to classical Greek and Roman sympotic texts, and analysing it as a microcosm concerned with the world-creating powers of mimetic language: Hikayat Abi al-Qasim: A Literary Banquet (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). She is also co-editing and translating the unicum manuscript of this text with Professor Geert Jan van Gelder. Her translation of another 11th century book of party crashing is title Selections from the Art of Party-Crashing in Medieval Iraq. She recently edited a co-authored textbook to introduce beginning students to the important city of medieval Baghdad, Baghdad at the Centre of a World: 8th-13th Century.

Dr Selove was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Manchester from 2012-2014, working on the ERC funded Arabic Commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms project, where she was responsible for the transcription and collation of digital copies of manuscripts containing these important medical commentaries. She has articles published and in progress on medieval Arabic medicine and magic, in addition to the subject of the uninvited guest. She is the PI of a Leverhulme-funded research project, "A Sorcerer's Handbook," which will create an edition, translation, and literary study of Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī's (d. 1229) magic handbook, Kitāb al-Shāmil wa-baḥr al-kāmil.

She is also the convener of the University of Exeter's Magic and Esotericism research group:

Research supervision

 I am happy to supervise projects about medieval Arabic literature and magic, as well as influences of Greek and Roman literatures on these traditions, and receptions of Arabic writing in both medieval and modern Europe. 

Current PhD Students:

Hassan Asiri: Argumentative Dimensions in the Sareeh Hijazi Ghazal Poetry in Umayyad Period

Mohammed Sanad: Analysing the critical style of Abu-Hilāl al-ʾAskarī (395- 400 AH).

External impact and engagement


Baghdad at the Centre of a World, 8th-13th century: An Introductory Textbook

The city of Baghdad during the 8th to the 13th centuries CE was one of the most important centers of cultural production in human history. A melting pot of languages, religions, and ethnicities, it produced thinkers and artists whose impact on the sciences, literatures, and cultures of the Middle East and Europe is still felt today. In countries like the UK and the USA, however, the importance of this time and place in human history is often barely mentioned in schools. This textbook will provide teachers with reliable and engaging material with which to introduce the dynamic medieval city of Baghdad to their students; it can be used by both students in school or by introductory level university classes, depending on the amount of support provided by the teacher to readers of the textbook. Included among the authors of this textbook are some of the leading names in the field, all conducting ground-breaking research on the history, culture, religion, and writing of this city. 

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