Professor Ihsan Abbas was one of the most pre-eminent Arab scholars of the 20th Century in the fields of Arabic and Islamic studies. Born in Ain Ghazal village in Palestine, Abbas received his BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees in Arabic Literature from Fuad Al-Awal (now Cairo) University.
In addition to his numerous scholarly articles and reviews, Professor Abbas authored 75 books covering not only a wide range of modern and ancient Arabic literature but also history, geography, law, science and political thought. His works included seminal contributions to the founding principles of the modern edited texts and groundbreaking work on the Arabic literary legacy of Muslim Spain. Among his books on modern Arabic poetry are Modern Trends in Contemporary Arabic Poetry, Badr Shakir Al-Sai’ab and Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Bay’ati. Abbas also translated or co-translated 12 books, including The Poetics of Aristotle by Samuel Butcher, The Achievements of T.S. Eliot by Matthiessen The Writer as Artist by Carlos Baker, The Arab Awakening by George Antonius, The Armed Vision by Stanley Hyman, and Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Some of the books and articles written by Ihsan Abbas have become standard readings of Arabic literature in many universities around the world.
Professor Ihsan Abbas was a Professor Emeritus at the American University in Beirut (AUB). He served earlier as Chair of Arabic Language and Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at AUB, Professor of Arabic Literature at Khartoum University and the Jordanian University and Visiting Professor at Princeton University. He was also a member of the Royal Jordanian Academy, the Arabic language academies in Cairo and Damascus, the German Oriental Society and the recipient of numerous other honors, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago, in addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Arabic Literature. He died in 2003 at the age of 83.