AL-SHANFARĀ AND "THE MOUNTAIN POEM" OF IBN KHAFĀJA: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON PATTERNS OF INTERTEXTUALITY

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

The debt owed by the Andalusī poet Ibn Khafāja (d. 533/1138) to the sa'ālīk for the development of his symbolic/poetic idiom has been examined closely by Nadia Yaqub in her article, "Some of Us Must Depart: An Intertextual Reading of the Mountain Poem by Ibn Khafāja" (Journal of Arabic Literature 30, 1999). This article carries the association even further, arguing that much of the lexical and thematic stock of the Bā'iyya ("The Mountain Poem") of Ibn Khafāja is directly transplanted from the Lāmiyya of al-Shanfarā. A comparative reading of the two qasīdas , with close attention paid to the shared motifs and topoi, illustrates a key mechanism in Ibn Khafāja's adaptation of the early Arabic thematic repertoire to his own poetics. This technique can be described as the mechanism of "folding," whereby the discrete topoi and motifs of early Arabic verse are collapsed into single figures with polyvalent significance. This technique is illustrated in Ibn Khafāja's redeployment of the traditional lyric topoi of wolves, the lightning watch, and mountains. The thematic conflation embodied by the final motif of the Bā'iyya, the mountain, offers a comment on the state of Andalusī poetics at the time of Ibn Khafāja, to wit, the fatigue of convention with its densely layered symbolic burdens.

AL-SHANFARĀ AND "THE MOUNTAIN POEM" OF IBN KHAFĀJA: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON PATTERNS OF INTERTEXTUALITY

in Journal of Arabic Literature

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