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The Arabs during a thousand years or more produced one of the richest and most extensive literatures of the world, embracing fine poetry (of the fierce desert life equally with the sophistication of royal courts), belles lettres (learned essays, satires, de arte amoris), religious, mystical and philosophical writings, and huge compendia of history, biography and geography. For sixty years, the best account in English of this vast output has been, by universal consent, R. A. Nicholson's Literary History of the Arabs; its supremacy will long remain unchallenged. That it is a book full of erudition and high critical judgement goes without saying; its author is also a poet-translator of rare excellence.
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