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Mahrouqi, Mohammad N.R. (2004) The image in the poetry of Ibn al-Mu'tazz (247-96/861-908) with special reference to metaphor and simile. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis investigates the imagery of one of the most important poets of the 'Abbasid age, 'Abd Allah Ibn al-Mu'tazz (247-96/861-908) Ibn al-Mu'tazz shows great interest in external attributes, especially shape, colour and speed. His fondness for describing external attributes is the characteristic feature which has led to his reputation as the pioneer of the Hissi (sensory or sensuous) type of poetic imagery, in contrast with Abu Tammam, who was considered the pioneer of dhihni (intellectual) poetry. It is also this fondness for external description that generates one of the most significant features of his poetry; the lack of harmony, indeed the outright contradiction at times, between two different functions of imagery, the semantic and the psychological. In Ibn al-Mu'tazz's poetry both positive and negative aspects of meaning often coexist in the very same image. This study seeks to place Ibn al-Mu'tazz's conception of imagery in the context of his life-experience and interests. Ibn al-Mu'tazz has traditionally been seen as a wealthy prince whose poetry reflects a life of luxury. This study, however, develops a different understanding and argues that the poet experienced an extremely difficult and turbulent life, right from the early days of his childhood: both his grandfather and, later, his father were assassinated following which he was sent into exile in frightening circumstances; he himself was Caliph for 24 hours, and he suffered real misfortune and adversity throughout his life. This thesis will argue that the lack of harmony found in Ibn al-Mu'tazz's poetry is indicative of the fragmentation in the poet's own life and reflects his bitter life-experiences. The two major aspects of imagery this study explores are the nature of Ibn al-Mu'tazz'8 images and the sources from which they are derived. Special attention is paid to simile and metaphor as they are possibly the most important figures of poetic speech, particularly in the age of classical Arabic literature. This poet's frequent use of particular images reveals important information about his interests. He shows great admiration for the palm tree - its trunk, fronds and spandex. Other topics, such as the moon, Pleiades, wine, wine froth, wineskin, hunting dogs, horses and flowers, especially the narcissus, are also favoured topics in his poetry. For the purpose of this thesis, five main sources of Ibn al-Mu'tazz's imagery have been identified and investigated: the human being, daily life, nature, animals and culture. In studying the nature of Ibn al-Mu'tazz's imagery, the work of classical Arab rhetoricians and critics, as well as modern views, are utilised. In the study of sources, the approach developed by Caroline Spurgeon has been adopted, and has proved to be of enormous value.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

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