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By Professor Roger Allen, D. S. Richards

The ultimate quantity of the sequence explores the Arabic literary background of the little-known interval from the 12th to the start of the 19th century. although it used to be in this time that the well-known Thousand and One Nights, used to be composed, little or no has been written at the literature of the interval often and Roger Allen and Donald Richards collect essentially the most wonderful students within the box. the quantity is split into components with the traditions of poetry and prose coated individually inside either their 'elite' and 'popular' contexts. The final sections are dedicated to drama and the indigenous culture of literary feedback.

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Love poetry could have no possible use as a publicity tool for the state. It was regarded rather as a pastime or a congenial prelude to more serious topics, to be used in overtures to poems. Almost every poet – and there were very many in the period under discussion here – regarded theme, with the exception of the love theme, in terms of this categorization; and constriction of theme became a basic problem for poetry, as constant repetition and an adherence to the same topics led to utter tedium.

Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 arabic poetry in the post-classical age 27 Islamic caliphate, the most impassioned eulogies in Arabic were undoubtedly those written during the prime caliphal period, poems pulsating with life and pregnant with the vision of glory and infallibility. During the early period of Abbasid hegemony (750–945), and slightly into the earlier middle period (945–1258), language and poetic idiom could still display the influence of the vigorous poetic output of earlier centuries, but they also reflected a new urbanity, one that, with the rise of al-Mutanabb¯ı in the first half of the fourth/tenth century, achieved a second acme that would serve as the basis for a poetic revival in the late nineteenth century and have a major impact on twentieth-century verse.

However, poetry now found itself hemmed in by the circumstances of Arab life. Among the most prominent features of this process was an ever increasing focus on ornamentation. It is certainly true that intricate figures of speech had become a primary feature of poetry during the Abbasid era (Ibn al-Mu ë tazz’s Kit¯ab al-bad¯ı ë, written in 274/887) and that they had initially been inventively used by such great poets as Ab¯u Tamm¯am, but during the long period under discussion here they developed into a mere profusion of embellishments and a highly mannered linguistic exercise.

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