Rizk Allah Hassun

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hassun, Rizk Allah


Born 1825 in Haleb, Syria; died 1880 in London. Christian Arabic writer, public figure, journalist, and translator.

Hassun was a founder of Arabic journalism. In the late 1840’s he moved to Turkey, where in 1854 he founded a newspaper devoted to literature and public affairs, Mir’at al-Ahwal. He emigrated to Russia in 1862 and later took up residence in England. In 1867, Hassun set up a printing press in London and continued to publish his newspaper. His journalism was devoted to promoting a rebirth of medieval Arabic culture.

Hassun published a collection of satirical verse, The Hissing of a Viper (1867), which included translations of fables by I. A. Krylov. His second collection of verse, Most Poetical of Poetry (1870), was based on biblical themes. In 1872, Hassun published poems of Hatim al-Ta’i, an Arabic poet of the sixth and seventh centuries. He also wrote satirical plays in verse directed against the dogmas of Islam, for example, In Combat Readiness (1901). Hassun used the strophic form of the muwashshah, a medieval Arabic genre, with great skill.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. Izbr. soch., vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956. Pages 150–64.
Krymskii, A. E. Istoriia novoi arabskoi literatury XIX–nach. XX v. Moscow, 1971. Pages 219–33.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.