By M. M. Badawi

This ebook is the 1st severe survey of the improvement and achievements of ‘modern’ Arabic poetry, right here signifying the interval from the latter half the 19th century to the current day. It levels over the full Arabic-speaking international and incorporates a dialogue of the paintings of poets who emigrated to the us and Latin the USA. 4 major levels are tested within the improvement of a in particular sleek Arabic poetry: the ‘neoclassical’, during which poets became to their literary background for his or her beliefs and notion; the pre-romantic’, which used to be marked via a rigidity among a converted classical type and new romantic sentiments, itself the mirrored image of a much broader cultural flow in the direction of swap and modernization; the ‘romantic’, during which the tensions among shape and content material have been resolved, and a lyricism and ease of language develop into the norm; and the ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ that is typified by means of a response opposed to romanticism, and ruled through both devoted social realism or symbolism and surrealism. within the absence of any related released paintings in a ecu language, the e-book, in addition to being designed for college kids of Arabic literature and of comparative literature, may also be of curiosity to the overall reader. No wisdom of Arabic is presupposed: all of the verse (newly translated through the writer) is given in English translation, and technical terminology has been decreased to a minimal.

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However, for all the attention they paid to form the neoclassicists were on the whole earnest moralists whose work is sometimes marred by too much solemnity and didacticism. These poets, especially the younger generation among them, set themselves up as teachers and reformers of their community and attacked its social and political ills. Within the formal and stylistic limitations of the qasida the neoclassical poets managed to give adequate expression to their modem problems and preoccupations.

In one poem (describing a Swiss landscape) the fields are seen as 'green garments' (n,39), and in another shrubs are viewed as women or female slaves wearing bracelets and ankle bands (n,43); palm trees also are likened to women with plaited hair (n,56), and when their tops are hidden in the clouds they are seen as brides wearing white mantles (n,l 54). The brook running in the green fields is likened to a mirror inside an ornamental frame (n,44). The grove is seen 'wearing a necklace and earrings made of the golden rays of the setting sun' (n,63).

For instance, the depth of emotion in his elegy on his wife is unmistakable (1,89-90): NEOCLASSICISM 22 Never again shall my heart rest from sorrow, now that you have gone, Never again shall my bed be soft. When I awake you are the first thought in my mind, and when I retire to sleep you are my last nourishment. His elegy on his friend 'Abdullah Fikri, to mention another example (a short poem of nine lines), is no less sincere, although the feeling expressed in it is of a different nature: the poet's affection for his friend and his reverence for his memory reveal themselves in the dominant image of light which is sustained throughout the whole poem.

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