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Dr Nathaniel Miller

Dr Nathaniel Miller

Lecturer in Classical Arabic

Teaching Bye-Fellow, Magdalene College

Office Phone: 01223 335132


Nathaniel Miller is from Rhode Island and has a BA (St. Olaf, 2002) and an MA (Indiana, 2005) in English Literature. After deciding that he did not need to write a dissertation on William Blake, however much he loved him, he moved to Egypt, where he lived in Cairo and Alexandria from 2007 to 2010, studying Arabic from 2009 to 2010 as a fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo. He returned to the US where he completed his PhD in Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Chicago (2016). His dissertation was on tribal identity in Ashʿār al-Hudhaliyyīn (Poems of the Hudhayl tribe), the only surviving medieval Arabic anthology of a single tribe’s poetry, attributed to poets living near Mecca from ca. 550 to 750 CE. In addition to the Hudhalīs, his favorite classical Arabic poets are Ibn Khafāja, al-Maʿarrī and Ibn al-Fāriḍ.

Subject groups/Research projects

Arabic & Persian Studies:

Research Interests

- Pre- and early-Islamic Arabic poetry

- Medieval Arabic poetic anthologies

- Early Islamic history

- The Qurʾān

Key Publications

“Seasonal Poetics: The Dry Season and Autumn Rains among Pre-Islamic Najdī and Ḥijāzī Tribes,” forthcoming in Arabica 64, no. 1 (2017).


“Warrior Elites on the Verge of Islam: Between Court and Tribe in Arabic Poetry.” In Cross-Cultural Studies in Near Eastern History and Literature. Vol. 2 of The Intellectual Heritage of the Ancient and Mediaeval Near East, edited by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, Ilkka Lindstedt, and Saana Svärd, 139–173. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2016.