By M. M. Badawi
This booklet is the 1st severe survey of the improvement and achievements of ‘modern’ Arabic poetry, right here signifying the interval from the latter half the 19th century to the current day. It levels over the whole Arabic-speaking international and incorporates a dialogue of the paintings of poets who emigrated to the USA and Latin the United States. 4 major phases are tested within the improvement of a particularly glossy Arabic poetry: the ‘neoclassical’, during which poets became to their literary historical past for his or her beliefs and thought; the pre-romantic’, which was once marked by means of a pressure among a changed classical variety and new romantic sentiments, itself the mirrored image of a much wider cultural circulation in the direction of swap and modernization; the ‘romantic’, within which the tensions among shape and content material have been resolved, and a lyricism and ease of language turn into the norm; and the ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ that is typified by way of a response opposed to romanticism, and ruled by way of both dedicated social realism or symbolism and surrealism. within the absence of any comparable released paintings in a eu language, the ebook, in addition to being designed for college students of Arabic literature and of comparative literature, can be of curiosity to the final reader. No wisdom of Arabic is presupposed: the entire verse (newly translated via the writer) is given in English translation, and technical terminology has been diminished to a minimal.
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Extra info for A Critical Introduction to Modern Arabic Poetry
Even his language is at times very similar to that of the ancients, especially the Abbasids. He had a predilection for the old and archaic word, and even for 'poetic diction': the pigeon is called ibn al-aik (the child of the grove), the cock al-a'raf (the crested one) (i,124), and sea-birds banat al-ma' (daughters of the water) (i,142). Barudi's intense desire to relate himself to the tradition produced at times unfortunate results, when the poet's individuality is utterly crushed by the weight of the tradition.
In our attempt to describe the development of modem Arabic poetry, particularly in its earliest phases, we have to be very much on our guard when using European critical terminology. For all their vagueness, when used to describe western literary phenomena, terms like 'neoclassicism' or 'romanticism' still denote, in a general way, a cluster of meanings. When we apply these terms to Arabic poetry (as indeed for the sake of convenience we must) we sometimes have to impose a drastic limitation on these meanings — otherwise we run the risk of reading one culture exclusively in terms of another, of viewing Arabic literature, in other words, with too western eyes.
Nevertheless, and despite what Taha Husain once said,38 it is not difficult to arrive at Shauqi's conception of poetry. Clearly, as we have just seen, he did not believe that poetry was simply rhyming metrical speech. Besides passion Catifah) poetry should also have what he called 'wisdom' (hikmah). Like Barudi, Shauqi believed in the moral function of poetry. 39 In a poem addressed to the workers (i,95) he urges them to work hard and emulate the example of ancient Egyptian craftsmen, to possess civic virtues and generally lead a virtuous life.