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Gindi, Ali Muhammad Ali (1952) Martial poetry among the Arabs in the Jahiliyah. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This is a study, collected from numerous reference books, of anthologies and diwans in which any pre-Islamic poetry is mentioned. My study is confined to poetry dealing with warfare. No less than 150 poets have been brought under review and no less than 5,080 verses have been analysed, documented or discussed. The study is based primarily on statistics, and from these it endeavours to analyse the ideas, thoughts and imagery of the pre-Islamic poets in their martial poetry; it also shows the underlying effect of war on social life and conditions of the time. This study could be a basis for further research into the martial poetry of later periods, so that the development of poetic imagination and thought could be followed throughout the course of Arabic history. The thesis is divided into four chapters. The first two describe the general historical background, while the others deal specifically with the poetry. The first chapter portrays the life and environment of the pre-Islamic Arabs, showing that these conditions were conducive to war. The second chapter concerns the 'Ayyam al-'Arab', illustrating the osuses of feuds and the modes of campaigning. The chapter concludes by showing the influence of the 'Ayyam' on the literature. The third, and largest chapter, analyses the collection. It is divided according to the themes discussed by the poets. In the section on description emphasis was laid on the imagery, details of which are classified and appended. The last chapter is a general criticism of the subjects analysed in the previous chapter, together with a discussion of poetic imagery, emotion and style. It continues by mentioning the role played by women. The chapter concludes by attempting to show how such poetry can help us to form a clear idea about the Arab's attitude to war, and his behaviour therein. The Arabic appendix in which the similes and metaphors used by the Arab poets are systematically grouped will, it is hoped, serve as a guide to students of early Arabic poetry. When read with the text of the thesis, the appendix should throw light on many of the obscure expressions which the poets use and illustrate the way in which a literary convention came into being.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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