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By Philip Kennedy

Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) used to be 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 some of the most charismatic figures in global literature. but, he was once in truth an all-round poet and exerted a profound impact on Abbasid poetry extra usually; he's certainly one of a handful of people who will be deemed to face on the very middle of Arabic literary tradition. Abu Nuwas offers the wonderful lifestyles tale of this mythical determine along obtainable translations of a few of his most crucial poems. With commentaries, a thesaurus and a advisor to extra examining, this e-book is definitely the right advent to a real genius of Arabic literature.

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Abu Nuwas’s preferred types were adolescent boys employed in the bureaucracy, youths studying religious sciences at the mosque, and Christian and Zoroastrian acolytes. Note must also be made of the shatir (pl. shuttar), a sort of fashion-conscious dandy of foppish, and occasionally violent, temperament. Being a shatir was apparently, Rowson writes, ... a “life-style” choice of some rebellious young men (and women), perhaps in that sense to be compared to hippies and punks in modern Western society.

Any summary of the great poets of this tradition contains a handful of steady fixtures: usually Imru’ al-Qays (fl. early sixth century); perhaps al-Shanfara (sixth century), Majnun Layla (seventh century), ‘Umar ibn Abi Rabi‘a (d. 712), Abu Tammam (d. 845), al-Mutanabbi (d. ; and always in any list, except one that is unfairly censoring, Abu Nuwas (d. c. 814). His talent was extraordinary and showed in the matchless range and variety of his verse. He mastered most of the genres of Arabic poetry; he had an innate dexterity with words and in the formulation of ideas; he respected the spirit of inherited convention without ever being bound by its expression or “false compare”; and he was unusually poised in his employment of developing rhetorical devices (which some of his Abbasid peers could exploit excessively).

1348) in his Mizan, and no doubt other authors, judged that Abu Nuwas was essentially unworthy of transmitting Hadith due to his dissolute and immoral character. It is certainly the case that Abu Nuwas could be contemptuous of the protocols of this religious literature in his poetry; in one 10-line piece, apparently composed in Basra, he parodied the chains of transmission that provide the very authenticity of prophetic deeds and sayings. The story goes: Abu Nuwas attended the salon in Basra of ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn Ziyad to which students of Hadith thronged for instruction.

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