Abu Nuwas. A Genius of Poetry by Philip Kennedy

By Philip Kennedy

Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) was once one of many maximum Arab poets of the classical interval. In literary background, he's remembered mainly because the hard-drinking and eloquent composer of dissolute wine poems, from which he emerges as the most charismatic figures in global literature. but, he was once actually an all-round poet and exerted a profound impact on Abbasid poetry extra more often than not; he's certainly one of a handful of people who might be deemed to face on the very middle of Arabic literary tradition. Abu Nuwas provides the enjoyable lifestyles tale of this mythical determine along obtainable translations of a few of his most vital poems. With commentaries, a word list and a consultant to extra interpreting, this booklet is the appropriate advent to a real genius of Arabic literature.

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Early sixth century); perhaps al-Shanfara (sixth century), Majnun Layla (seventh century), ‘Umar ibn Abi Rabi‘a (d. 712), Abu Tammam (d. 845), al-Mutanabbi (d. ; and always in any list, except one that is unfairly censoring, Abu Nuwas (d. c. 814). His talent was extraordinary and showed in the matchless range and variety of his verse. He mastered most of the genres of Arabic poetry; he had an innate dexterity with words and in the formulation of ideas; he respected the spirit of inherited convention without ever being bound by its expression or “false compare”; and he was unusually poised in his employment of developing rhetorical devices (which some of his Abbasid peers could exploit excessively).

809), in September 813. The consensus is that he was about 59 years of age when he died. His Persian mother, Jullaban, was a seamstress of modest background (who may also have worked selling bamboo artifacts) and who apparently never mastered the Arabic language. Her house is said to have been a meeting place for singing girls. ”). She outlived her son and Abu Nuwas’s paltry estate came into her possession upon his death. It is said he bequeathed her as little as 200 dinars – astonishingly little given his eminence as a poet and the rewards that were probably heaped upon him, sporadically, during his lifetime.

Such a judgment could surely only be made once Abu Nuwas had reached a maturity in his art; the contact between Abu ‘Ubayda and Abu Nuwas must have been on some level – intellectually – a lasting one, and there was no persistent rancor between the two men. Abu Nuwas not only studied but also taught prophetic traditions (Hadith), and among his own pupils were said to be the great polymath al-Jahiz (d. 869) and the distinguished jurist al-Shafi‘i (d. 820). Two traditions are transmitted by him with chains of transmission going back to the Prophet.

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