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New York University Press

The Life and Times of Abū Tammām

The Life and Times of Abū Tammām

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A robust defense of a poetic genius

Abū Tammām (d. 231 or 232/845 or 846) is one of the most celebrated poets in the Arabic language. Born in Syria to Greek Christian parents, he converted to Islam and quickly made his name as one of the premier Arabic poets in the caliphal court of Baghdad, promoting a new style of poetry that merged abstract and complex imagery with archaic Bedouin language. Both highly controversial and extremely popular, this sophisticated verse influenced all subsequent poetry in Arabic and epitomized the "modern style" (badīʿ), an avant-garde aesthetic that was very much in step with the intellectual, artistic, and cultural vibrancy of the Abbasid dynasty.

In The Life and Times of Abū Tammām, translated into English for the first time, the courtier and scholar Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Ṣūlī (d. 335 or 336/946 or 947) mounts a robust defense of "modern" poetry and of Abū Tammām's significance as a poet against his detractors, while painting a lively picture of literary life in Baghdad and Samarra. Born into an illustrious family of Turkish origin, al-Ṣūlī was a courtier, companion, and tutor to the Abbasid caliphs. He wrote extensively on caliphal history and poetry and, as a scholar of "modern" poets, made a lasting contribution to the field of Arabic literary history. Like the poet it promotes, al-Ṣūlī's text is groundbreaking: it represents a major step in the development of Arabic poetics, and inaugurates a long line of treatises on innovation in poetry.

A bilingual Arabic-English edition.

Author: Abū Bakr Al-Ṣūlī
Publisher: New York University Press
Published: 12/01/2015
Pages: 336
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.75lbs
Size: 9.10h x 6.20w x 1.30d
ISBN: 9780814760406

About the Author
Abū Bakr al-Ṣūlī (Author)
Abū Bakr al-Ṣūlī (d. 335 or 336/946 or 947) was a courtier, companion, and tutor to Abbasid caliphs. His works on caliphal history, on poetry generally, and in particular on the "modern" poets, are a major contribution to Arabic literature.

Beatrice Gruendler (Edited and Translated by)
Beatrice Gruendler is Professor of Arabic at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her books include The Development of the Arabic Scripts (1993), Medieval Arabic Praise Poetry (2003), and the edited collections Understanding Near Eastern Literatures (2000) with Verena Klemm, and Classical Arabic Humanities in Their Own Terms (2008) with Michael Cooperson.


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