Download Al-Mutanabbi: Voice of the ‘Abbasid Poetic Ideal by Margaret Larkin PDF

By Margaret Larkin

This exhaustive and but enchanting learn considers the existence and paintings of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), frequently considered as the best of the classical Arab poets. A innovative at middle and infrequently imprisoned or compelled into exile all through his tumultuous lifestyles, al-Mutanabbi wrote either arguable satires and while hired by means of considered one of his many consumers, laudatory panegyrics. utilizing an ornate sort and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi used to be one of many first to effectively flow clear of the ordinarily inflexible kind of Arabic verse, the 'qasida'.

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From the very first line, the pre-Islamic emphasis on fate is rejected, to be replaced by the individual’s assumption of existential responsibility. In this poem, the process is configured by the stages of grieving that are at the heart of the piece, but on a larger level this is also what is going on in much of al-Mutanabbi’s oeuvre. Al-Mutanabbi took great pride in his own tribal heritage, but for him it was just one ingredient, albeit an important one, in the sense of self and of individual worth to which he was primarily attached.

Little is known about the poet’s mother, who seems to have died very early in his life, for he was raised by his grandmother. Al-Mutanabbi’s family was poor. The accusations that his father was a lowly water-carrier may have some validity, since he lived near a district in Kufa that was inhabited by weavers and water-carriers. This, along with the attention the family received from a well-known ‘Alid patron, has led some to give credence to claims that the poet was connected to the ‘Alid nobles of Kufa and therefore a member, if at some remove, of what would be considered a noble caste in Kufan culture.

In the poem he composed on this occasion, al-Mutanabbi re-shapes the traditional poetic mode of elegy and makes it a dynamic space in which the poet’s sense of his own greatness becomes the vehicle for his recovery from grief. In this piece, pre-Islamic values are present as points of contrast with the novel stance the poet assumes. The natural human response to the death of a loved one is to try to explain the unexplainable and to fix responsibility; in this case, the only potentially blameworthy person in the picture is the poet,who left his grandmother to go and seek his fortune, and over the course of the poem al-Mutanabbi comes to terms with the choices he has made.

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