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Kafrawy, Muhammad (1951) A critical study of the poetry of Isma'il b. al-Qasim known as Abu'l-Atahiya. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In this thesis we have tried to throw new light on the life and poetry of Abu'l-Atahiya, The greatest event of his life took place in 180 A.H., when he deserted his post as court poet to Harun al-Rashid, Thereafter, instead of composing love poetry for the Caliph, he devoted himself to writing about Death similar gloomy themes. Because, moreover, he put on the woollen garments of the ascetics, people thought he had changed his way of life. as a result of his failure to win the hand of Otba, a slave-girl whom he loved. Drawing support from our research, have tried to show how his failure in love was only a single event in a long series of troubles and disappointnents, which began early in his childhood and continued throughout his life. The main cause of all these troubles was his very humble lineage and the low place in society assigned to his father's profession, because of which people of more noble classes looked on him with disdain. His sense of inferiority was deepened when his beloved Otba refused him on account of his origins. Life began to look futile for him. His dissatisfaction with the part that Harun played in the love-affair increased his hatred of the aristocracy, and of Harun in particular. Thus, when he composed poetry about Death or about the worthlessness of life, he was not inspired by ascetic feelings (though it has been said so by Nicholson, for example, in his ("Literary History"). Rather he saw Death as the only power capable of bringing to an end the influence, luxary and glory of the haughty aristocracy and making them equal with the humble classes from among whom the poet had risen. By showing that the present life was worthless., no himself Was helping to destroy the happiness of those who destroyed him. Abu'l-Atahiya's revolt against society might have been postponed or repressed, had not some of the political movements in the Caliphate at that time encouraged him for their own ends. In addition Zubaldaj Harun's wife, was jealous of the slave-girls with whom the Caliph revelled, and so she toe encouraged such expressions of revulsion. After giving the circumstances of the poetic, life their due, we have concluded with some literary criticism of his verses.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11

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