By Philip Kennedy
Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) was once one of many maximum Arab poets of the classical interval. In literary historical past, he's remembered mainly because the hard-drinking and eloquent composer of dissolute wine poems, from which he emerges as the most charismatic figures in global literature. but, he was once in reality an all-round poet and exerted a profound impact on Abbasid poetry extra typically; he's one among a handful of people who should be deemed to face on the very middle of Arabic literary tradition. Abu Nuwas offers the pleasing lifestyles tale of this mythical determine along obtainable translations of a few of his most vital poems. With commentaries, a word list and a consultant to extra studying, this booklet is definitely the right creation to a real genius of Arabic literature.
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Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) was once one of many maximum Arab poets of the classical interval. In literary background, he's remembered mainly because the hard-drinking and eloquent composer of dissolute wine poems, from which he emerges as essentially the most charismatic figures in global literature. but, he was once in truth an all-round poet and exerted a profound effect on Abbasid poetry extra often; he's one in all a handful of people who may be deemed to face on the very center of Arabic literary tradition.
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Additional info for Abu Nuwas. A Genius of Poetry
The “Modern” Poet In reviewing the wine song we must note: (i) its literary genealogy, of which Abu Nuwas was so clearly conscious (and respectful of, on the whole): he clearly saw himself as the inheritor of a pre-Islamic tradition, and in particular of the poetry of al-A‘sha (d. c. 629) whom he often alluded to and even cited (see Chapter 2) – he had, in Dryden’s phrase, “the genius to improve an invention”; (ii) the realism it contains, and how it represents a material culture the poet was exposed to, for all that it is a work spun from the contrary impulses of convention and a feverish imagination; (iii) the principal characteristics which he developed in the genre – they in fact mark the evolving rhetorical contours of the period as well as any other, more conservative and canonical, texts; the intellectual conceits of his poetry, and the application of the rhetorical devices known collectively as badi‘, made him the quintessential “Modern” (muhdath) poet.
He could affect to flout the protocols of Ramadan: of all the months, if he could “kill one off”, he would dispatch this sacred month of fasting. ” (parodying the Islamic testimony of God’s unity). In an ebullient exchange with the Baghdadi singing-girl ‘Inan he wrote: “Gorgeous one! ” Here “kiss” (qubla) and “the direction of prayer” (qibla) are made to rhyme, an almost inevitable rhyming couplet. There is so much of this kind of pithy anecdotage about Abu Nuwas that it literally fills up two medieval books.
He could, for example, make fun of Muhra, the mother of his beloved Janan, for her métier as a procuress and tie that to her incompetence in Arabic exhibited partly in her use of Persian words – he was caricaturing her for a kind of lewd déformation professionelle. In sum, he simply had a more ethnically diverse background than some of his contemporaries in the Baghdad circle of the early ninth century. Education In his early childhood Abu Nuwas followed his mother to Basra in lower Iraq where he attended Qur’an school.
Abu Nuwas. A Genius of Poetry by Philip Kennedy