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In this interview Margaret Larkin, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California in Berkeley, talks about the history of Arabic Literature through its major phases, from the pre-Islamic era through the Abbasid and Umayyad periods to the Modern period. She discusses the notion of poetry being the classic manifestation of Arabic literature and its importance to Arabs, the major pre-Islamic poets, the themes of poetry and the organization of the poem as well as the sensitivity that Muslims have towards any connection between poetry and the Qur'an and many other topics. She also addresses the position of the novel within the Arabic tradition and its history.