Jaroslav Stetkevych

Professor of Arabic

Ph.D. Harvard University, 1962.
Taught at Chicago 1962-1996.

Special Interests

Classical and Modern Arabic Poetry, Arabic Lyricism, Literary Theory, Comparative Literature

 Jaroslav Stetkevych was born in Burkaniv, Ukraine on 25 April, 1929. He began his secondary school studies at the Statsgymnasium in Göttingen and completed secondary school at the Ukrainian Gymnasium at Berchtesgaden, Germany in 1947 and the German Gymnasium in Munich, 1949. He began his university studies at the University of Madrid where he received the Licenciatura in Semitic Philology with Premio Extraordinario honors in 1959. During that time (1957-58) he studied in the PhD program at Cairo University. In 1959 he received a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to pursue PhD studies in the department of Semitic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. There he studied Arabic Literature under Sir Hamilton Gibb and received his PhD in 1962. He taught Modern and Classical Arabic literature and Classical Arabic syntax in the NELC department at the University of Chicago from 1962-96. He is currently a Research Associate at the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych.Stetkevych’s research interests and publications span both Classical and Modern Arabic Language and Literature, with his deepest involvement in Arabic poetry. His work on Arabic linguistics and philology grows from his 1970 book The Modern Arabic Literary Language to include studies ranging from contemporary Arabic language on stage to the hermeneutics of Classical Qur’ānic exegetical terminology and the poetics and semiotics of animal nomenclature in the classical qaṣīdah. In the field of Arabic poetry, his major contribution is to the study of the lyricism and aesthetics of the Classical Arabic poetic tradition is the 1993 book, The Zephyrs of Najd: the Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb. In his 1996 book, Muḥammad and the Golden Bough, he integrates the study of Arabian and Islamic myth into the broader fields of comparative mythology and religion. His articles over the years have explored various facets of Classical and Modern Arabic poetry and poetics. His 2015 book, The Hunt in Arabic Poetry, gathers and refines twenty years of work on Arabic hunt poetry to demonstrate the continuities and discontinuities of the hunt theme from the pre-Islamic qaṣīdah through Modernist free-verse poetry. His current project is on the ʿAyniyyah of Abū Dhuʾayb al-Hudhalī: Elegy and the Achievement of Allegory in Classical Arabic Poetry. The most recent information on his work can be found at https://chicago.academia.edu/JaroslavStetkevych.  



  • The Modern Arabic Literary Language: Lexical and Stylistic Developments. The University of Chicago Press, 1970. Pp. xxi + 135. 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006. Partial Arabic translation in Al-Mahd, Amman, Jordan, 1985. Full translation: Cairo: Dār al-ʿUlūm Press, 1986.
  • The Zephyrs of Najd: The Poetics of Nostalgia in the Classical Arabic Nasīb. The University of  Chicago Press, 1993. Pp. xii + 326. Chapter 5, part 2, “Spaces of Delight: Perceived, Lost, Remembered” (pp. 180-201, 291-97), trans. into  Arabic by Prof. Muḥammad Birayrī, Cairo: Fuṣūl, 1995. Full Arabic translation: Prof. Ḥasan al-Bannā ʿIzz al-Dīn, trans., intro. & notes. Ṣabā Najd: Shiʿriyyat al-Ḥanīn fī al-Nasīb al-ʿArabī al-Kilāsīkī .Riyāḍ: Markaz al-Malik Fayṣal li al-Buḥūth wa al-Dirāsāt al-Islāmiyyah, 1425/2004.
  • Muḥammad and the Golden Bough: Reconstructing Arabian Myth. Indiana University Press, 1996. Pp. 169. (Choice Academic Book of the Year). Full Arabic trans.: Saʿīd al-Ghānimī , trans. & notes. Al-ʿArab wa al-Ghuṣn al-Dhahabī: Iʿādat Bināʾ al-Usṭūrah al-ʿArabiyyah. Beirut: Al-Markaz al-Thaqāfī al-ʿArabī, 2005. Pp. 253.
  • Arabic Poetry and Orientalism. English and Arabic text. Ed., Walid Khazindar, trans. into Arabic by  Walid al-Halis. Oxford: St. John’s College Research Centre 2004, pp.120.
  • Shiʿriyyat al-Ṣayd wa al-Ṭardiyyah fī al-Qaṣīdah al-ʿArabiyyah al-Klāsīkiyyah wa al-Muʿāṣirah. Trans, and Intro. by Ḥasan al-Bannā ʿIzz al-Dīn. Riyadh: Dār al-Mufradāt, 2013.
  • The Hunt in Arabic Poetry: From Heroic to Lyric to Metapoetic. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. FORTHCOMING: Fall, 2015.

Articles & Chapters in Books

  • “Reflexiones sobre el teatro árabe moderno,” Revista del Instituto de Estudios Islámicos en Madrid, 6 (1958/1960), pp. 109- 120.
  • “Problemas y aspectos de la moderna prosa árabe,” Revista del Instituto de Estudios Islámicos en Madrid, 11-12 (1963/1964), pp. 181-208.
  • “Some Observations on Arabic Poetry,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 26 (1967), pp. 1-12.
  • “Arabism and Arabic Literature: Self-View of a Profession," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 27 (1969), pp. 145-56.
  • “The Confluence of Arabic and Hebrew Literature,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 32, Nos. 1 and 2 (January-April, 1973), pp. 216-22.
  • “The Arabic Lyrical Phenomenon in Context,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 6 (1975), pp. 57-77.
  • “Classical Arabic on Stage,” Studies in Modern Arabic Literature, ed. R. C. Ostle (London, 1975), pp. 152-66.
  • “Arabic Poetry and Assorted Poetics,” Islamic Studies: A Tradition and its Problems, Seventh Giorgio Levi Della Vida Biennial Conference, 1979. ed. M. H. Kerr (Los Angeles: Undena, 1980), pp. 103-123.
  • “The Arabic Qaṣīdah: From Form and Content to Mood and Meaning,” Omeljan Pritsak Festschrift, ed. Ihor Ševčenko (Harvard Ukrainian Studies), 1979/80, Vol. 2, pp. 774-85.
  • “Mā baʿda al-qirāʾah al-ūlā: al-ḥadāthah fī shiʿr Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī” (Beyond the First Reading: Modernity in the Poetry of Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī), Fuṣūl, 4, Nr.4 (July-September, 1984), pp. 78-96.
  • “Encounter with the East: The Orientalist Poetry of Ahatanhel Krymskyj,” Harvard Journal of Ukrainian Studies, 8: ¾ (1985), pp. 321-350. A separate edition of the essay was published by Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 1986.
  • “Name and Epithet: The Philology and Semiotics of Animal Nomenclature in Early Arabic Poetry,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 45, Nr. 2 (1986), pp. 89-124.
  • “Ibn Qutaybah wa mā baʿdah: al-qaṣīdah al-ʿarabiyyah al-kilāsīkiyyah,” Fuṣūl, 6, Nr. 2 (1986), pp. 71- 78.
  • “Sīniyyat Aḥmad Shawqī wa ʿiyār al-shiʿr al-ʿarabī al-kilāsīkī” (The Sīniyyah of Aḥmad Shawqī and the Canon of Klassical Arabic Poetry), Fuṣūl, 7, Nos. 1/2 (October 1986/March 1987), pp. 12-29.
  • Spaces of Delight: A Symbolic Topoanalysis of the Classical Arabic Nasīb,” in Critical Pilgrimages: Studies in the Arabic Literary Tradition, ed. Fedwa Malti-Douglas (Literature East and West, 25 [1989]), pp. 5-28.
  • “Arabic Hermeneutical Terminology: Paradox and the Production of Meaning,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 48, Nr. 2 (April 1989), pp. 81-96.
  • “Toward an Arabic Elegiac Lexicon: The Seven Words of the Nasīb,” pp. 58-129, in Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, ed., Reorientations/Arabic and Persian Poetry. Indiana University Press, 1994.
  • “The Thamūd in Myth and Poetry” (in Ukrainian), Journal of the Ukrainian Academy, Kyïv 1995.
  • “The Hunt in the Arabic Qaṣīdah: The Antecedents of the Ṭardiyyah.” In J. R. Smart, ed., Tradition and Modernity in Arabic Language and Literature. (Surrey: Curzon Press, 1996), pp. 108-118.
  • “Qaṣīdatān Ṭardiyyatān li ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Bayātī wa Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī: ʿIndamā Yakūnu–l-ʿUnwān ʿIbʾan wa Masʾūliyyatan,” (Two Hunt Poems by ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Bayātī and Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Ḥijāzī: When the Title is a Burden and a Responsibility), in Al Naqd al-Adabī fī Munʿaṭaf al-Qarn: Madākhil li- Taḥlīl al-Naṣṣ al-Adabī, etc./ Literary Criticism at the Turn of the Century, Papers Presented to the First International Conference on Literary Criticism (Cairo, October, 1997). Ed. Ezz Eldin Ismail. Cairo, 1999.
  • “The Hunt in Classical Arabic Poetry: From Mukhaḍram Qaṣīdah to Umayyad Ṭardiyyah,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 30, No. 2 (1999), pp. 108-127.
  • “Sacrifice and Redemption in Early Islamic Poetry: Al-Ḥuṭayʾah’s ‘Wretched Hunter’,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 31, No. 2 (2000), pp. 89-120.
  • “In Search of the Unicorn: The Onager and the Oryx in the Arabic Ode,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 33, No. 2 (2002), pp. 79-130.
  • “Min al-Waṣf al-Taqlīdī ilā al-Waṣf al-Ḥadīth,” in ʿIzz al-Dīn Ismāʿīl, ed., Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Literary Criticism. Cairo, n.p., 2006. Vol. ??, pp. ??
  • “A Qaṣīdah by Ibn Muqbil: The Deeper Reaches of Lyricism and Experience in a Mukhaḍram Poem. An Essay in Three Steps,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 37, No. 3, (2006), pp. 303-354.
  • “The Discreet Pleasures of the Courtly Hunt: Abū Nuwās and the ʿAbbāsid Hunt,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 39 (2008), pp. 141-183.
  • “The Classical Greek Funeral Oration and the Arabic Dirge/Elegy: Between City/Polity and the Orator/Poet.” In Alaa Abd al-Hady, ed. Applied Rhetoric: Reading the Literary Text from Rhetorical Aspects. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Literary Criticism, Cairo, 2006. Cairo: 2010, Vol. 2, pp. 11-25.
  • “The Ṭardiyyahs of Ibn al-Muʿtazz: Breakthrough into Lyricism.” Journal of Arabic Literature 41 no. 3 (2010), pp. 201-244.
  • “Modernity and Metapoetry in Muḥammad ʿAfīfī Maṭar’s Hunt Poem: Ṭardiyyah.” Journal of Arabic Literature 43 (2012), pp. 137-171.
  • “Two Modernist Hunt Poems: The Ṭardiyyahs of ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Bayātī and Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī Hijāzī.” Annals of the Japan Association for Middle East Studies 29 No. 2 (2014), pp. 145-168.