Literary Criticism

Al-Mutanabbi: The Poet of Sultans and Sufis (Makers of the by Margaret Larkin

By Margaret Larkin

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This exhaustive and but spell binding research considers the lifestyles and paintings of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), usually considered as the best of the classical Arab poets. A innovative at middle and sometimes imprisoned or compelled into exile all through his tumultuous existence, al-Mutanabbi wrote either arguable satires and whilst hired by way of one among his many shoppers, laudatory panegyrics. utilising an ornate variety and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi was once one of many first to effectively flow clear of the normally inflexible type of Arabic verse, the ‘qasida’.

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Additional info for Al-Mutanabbi: The Poet of Sultans and Sufis (Makers of the Muslim World)

Sample text

In an era when the dominant poetic mode was panegyric, and when poets made their living by eulogizing wealthy and influential patrons, the diminishment of the powerful cultural center of Baghdad was significant. Baghdad still had its poets, and 44 continued to exert a measure of influence over the course of their careers, but the situation was a far cry from what it had been. Gone were the days when a talented self-starter could find his way to Baghdad and there, with the support of powerful patrons and influential scholars, find both fame and fortune; the aspiring poet now had to cast his hopeful net more widely to find the necessary support for his art.

The idea of the Arab hero uniting a vast and multi-cultural empire of believing Muslims was gone forever. For example, when the Buyid dynasty, which ruled the most influential confederation of principalities born out of the ‘Abbasid ashes, exalted Arabic poetry, – which it did vigorously in many of its provincial courts – it was none the less a Persian dynasty, which paid little more than lip service to the ‘Abbasid caliphate, celebrating the Arab cultural tradition. Though al-Mutanabbi was to find, in the Buyid prince ‘Adud al-Dawlah, the kind of deferent indulgence and generosity that he required, along with sincere admiration of his poetry, he remained discontented with this essentially Persian environment that lacked a deep-seated sense of identification with Arab culture and values.

945–967 CE), the leader of the northern Syria branch of the Hamdanid dynasty, would eventually represent for al-Mutanabbi the longed-for ideal Arab hero he had thought was no longer to be found. But until that association came into being, he had to make a living, and that required seeking out rich patrons whose reputations would be enhanced by being panegyrized by a talented poet. Al-Mutanabbi’s early professional life was a series of frustrations, as he travelled around seeking a long-term and satisfying relationship with a patron.

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