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Boullata, Issa Joseph (1969) Badr Sha kir al-Sayyab: The Man and His Poetry. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this dissertation is to study the life and poetry of Badr Shakir al-Sayyab (1926-1964) and ascertain his place in modern Arabic literature. By visits to the scenes of al-Sayyad's life, by personal interview and correspondence with people who knew him, by access to his unpublished poetry and to official documents relating to his education, government position and medical treatment, the author supplemented the knowledge obtained from the poet's published works and from other materials. The picture of the poet emerging from this study is that of one deeply hurt by life. Since boyhood, the death of his mother and the desertion of his father leave him in constant search for love and security. The realization in adolescence that he is ugly, the failure of his love affairs in high school and college, and his sensitivity to social oppression make him join the Communist Party. His poetry meanwhile is romantic and rebellious. Be introduces free verse and helps to create a new movement in Arabic poetry. His struggle against his government causes him to lose his job and enter prison many times. After a short self-exile, he returns home having renounced communism and continues, after his marriage, to oppose his government and criticize Arab society in realist poems achieving literary fame. He welcomes the revolution against the monarchy but later attacks the republican regime for its communist leanings. He uses myths of death and resurrection in his poetry to express his disillusionment and his hopes for Iraq and the Arab nation. He then becomes afflicted with paralysis and spends the last three years of his life being treated at home and abroad, and writing of his pathetic experience with approaching death. His poetry represents the malaise of the Arab world and ushers a new era in Arabic poetry.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:13

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