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Al-Hani, N. (1950) Aspects of Literary Criticism and Their Influence on the Early Abbasid Poets. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Three aspects of literary criticism are here treated. They are language, contents and prosody. The first chapter seelks to show that in the early days literary studies were undertaken not for their own sake but as an adjunct to the study of the Kor'an. The language of poetry received the particular attention of philologists whose object was to furnish material for the interpretation of the Kor'an. These philologists held the old poets in high esteem end conversely regarded later poets as inferior in language. The poets who came after al-Farazdak strove to liberate themselves from the limitations imposed upon them by the philologists. Many unsuccessful attempts to do this took place up to the time of Bashshar. With this poet a new type of poetry appeared. In chapter two four poets are studied, they are; Bashshar b.Burd, Al-Sayyid al-Himyari, Abul-Atahiya, and Abu-Tammam. It is the object of this chapter to illustrate the long struggle which finally culminated in the emancipation of poetry from the restriction of the classical conception. In chapters three and four we shall set forth the requirement of the critics with regard to the several poetic forms such as panegyric, satire, elegy, and love poetry. It will be pointed out that wile the critics succeeded in clearly specifying the nature and requirements of these four aspects of poetry, a full understanding of descriptive poetry sscaped thom They were, moreover, unable to impose their authority upon the poets. The latter were not only independent of the critics but were in fact able to direct the literary movement according to their own desires and concetuons. Various poets are studied in order to illustrate this view. In chapter five the connection between prosody and singing is illustrated and the theory of the perfection of al-Khalil's prosody is refuted. Chapter six traces the transition which occurred in singing and points to a similar transition in poetry. Now metres consequently appeared and Abul-Atamiya and Razin the metrician are considered as having been instrumental in bringing about a fundamental change in prosody. Abul-Atahiya developed two new metres which were classified by the critics while Razin produced a further metre, as yet unclassified . If this metre can be accepted as entirely new, the total number of Arabic motres stand at seventeen and not sixteen as formerly held.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:11

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