Ask someone about the history of French literature and they might recite a couple of Voltaire quotes before extolling the virtues of Victor Hugo and challenging the ideas of Camus.
Ask about German literature and they will perhaps tell you about the Brothers Grimm before mourning the late, great Günter Grass.
Ask about Arabic literature, however, and, well, they’ve probably heard of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and … that’s often as far as their experience goes.
It can feel, to those in and from the West, that Arabic literature and literary tradition is a something we would never have the time to catch up with. From romantic poets, religious texts and revolutionary philosophers, there’s simply too much reading to get through – we could never get to a point where we might understand the references and canon well enough to enjoy the modern output.