Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Saqi Books, 2016
At first glance Sufism and Surrealism appear to be as far removed from one another as is possible. Adonis, however, draws convincing parallels between the two, contesting that God, in the traditional sense does not exist in Surrealism or in Sufism, and that both are engaged in parallel quests for the nature of the Absolute, through ‘holy madness’ and the deregulation of the senses.
This is a remarkable investigation into the common threads of thought that run through seemingly polarised philosophies from East and West, written by a man Edward Said referred to as ‘the most eloquent spokesman and explorer of Arab modernity’.
Adonis is one of the most celebrated poets and essayists of the Arab world. Born in Syria in 1930, he fled political persecution and settled in Lebanon in the 1950s, where he led the modernist movement in Arabic poetry. He has written more than thirty books in Arabic, including Sufism and Surrealism, and the pioneering work An Introduction to Arab Poetics, and was awarded the Goethe Prize in 2011 for his contribution to international literature. His other awards include the Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression, the Bjørnson Prize, the International Nâz?m Hikmet Poetry Award and the Syria-Lebanon Best Poet Award. He lives in Paris.