The Universal Tree and the Four Birds Ibn 'Arabi's Ittihad al-kawni Translation and commentary by Angela Jaffray Arabic text by Denis Gril The Universal Tree and the Four Birds is one of Ibn ‘Arabi's early works. A dazzling blend of poetry and rhymed prose, this short mystical treatise encompasses a number of themes that were of perennial concern to Ibn ‘Arabi, in particular the question of union with the Divine. Beginning with a series of poems that depict the existential fluctuation of the human heart, the narrator goes on to describe his meeting with his Essential Self in a ‘place' outside space and time. He then finds himself in a garden with the Universal Tree, symbolising the Reality of Perfect Man, and four delightful birds: an Eagle, a Ringdove, a fabulous ‘Anqa' (or Gryphon), and a Jet-black Crow. Each in turn regales the author with a tale of its origins and essential characteristics, but it is only in the end that their true natures are finally revealed. The elegant translation is complemented by Angela Jaffray's illuminating commentary on key elements in the text and extensive notes, and a foreword by Rafi Zabor. The Arabic text, critically edited from the best manuscripts by Denis Gril, is also included. About the translator Angela Jaffray, an independent researcher and translator, has been a student of Ibn ‘Arabî’s writings for over twenty years. She holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from Harvard University, where she also taught a seminar devoted to Islamic Philosophy. Her translations of Federico García Lorca’s ‘Sonetos del Amor Oscuro’ were published in Collected Poems of Federico García Lorca (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002). She currently lives in Chicago, where she devotes most of her time to translating works of Ibn ‘Arabi. Book details 160 pages, paperback, 210 x 148 mm Published 2006, in association with the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society

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