The exceedingly popular theater piece in 5 acts, written by a Beirut-born author Chekri Ganem (1861-1929) was first published in French language in 1910.
This first Ottoman translation was made only one year after the book’s debut in France by İzzet Melih (1887-1966), who studied In France and tried to introduce new genres to the Ottoman Empire.
The translation was quite controversial, as the author of the play, Chékri Ganem, born in Lebanon, opposed the Ottoman Empire and supported the Arab nationalism. He started to write his most famous play in 1895 and finished it in 1910. The heroic figure of Antar was for Ganem a personification of the Arabian rebel, fighting for freedom.
Antar, with a real name Antarah ibn Shaddad (525–608), was a pre-Islamic Arab knight and poet, famous for his adventurous life. He was born in Nadj, to an Ethiopian slave woman Zabūba. His poetry and adventures are a mixture of a heroic life, chivalrous values, heroism, and unfulfilled love for his cousin Ablah’.
The motif of Antar became exceedingly popular in the European orientalist fin de siècle literature and theater. In 1912, a short silent movie was recorded on the subject and the piece was adapted for an opera by Gabriel Dupont in 1921.
Worldcat lists four institutional examples (Orient-Institut Istanbul, Orient-Institut Istanbul, Orient-Institut Istanbul, Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden).
References: OCLC 66931644, 25346184; ÖZEGE 865.