POETIC PILGRIMAGES: FROM BAGHDAD TO ANDALUCÍA, ABŪ TAMMĀM'S LĀ ANTA ANTA WA-LĀ AL-DIYĀRU DIYĀRU

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

Many García Lorca scholars have focused on the surrealist imagery in his "Romance sonámbulo" ("Sleepwalking Ballad"), one of his finest poems. This article focuses on the classical Arabic poetic resonance in the following verse: "Yo ya no soy yo, ni mi casa es ya mi casa" ("I am no longer I, my house no longer my house"). The verse echoes the opening line of Abū Tammām's (9th century) panegyric qasīdah to Abū Sa'īd al-Thaghrī: "You are not you, the abodes are not the abodes." The verse in turn was later quoted by Ibn Khafāja (12th century) in his elegiac ode to the fall of Valencia when the Çid conquered it. By calling upon the Arabic tradition behind this verse, the author wishes to shed some light on the poetical force that allows García Lorca's rendering to be effective in much the same way as the verse was in its Arabic original context. The verse in question may be seen as the culmination of a very old Arabic literary topos known as the atlāl-nasīb. The ruins of the abandoned encampment (the abodes of the poet's beloved) become a leitmotif of the awareness of lost happiness. Such a profound realization provides the elegiac mood that characterizes the nasīb or love prelude that opens the typical tripartite qasīdah. The ruined abode (or the abandoned encampment) allows the poet to establish a mnemonic and metonymic relationship with its former inhabitants, thus stirring the poet's memory. The physical place, then, becomes a poetic locus. What is noteworthy in Lorca's appropriation is the fact that he understood the meaning of Abū Tammām's verse at the archetypal level.

POETIC PILGRIMAGES: FROM BAGHDAD TO ANDALUCÍA, ABŪ TAMMĀM'S LĀ ANTA ANTA WA-LĀ AL-DIYĀRU DIYĀRU

in Journal of Arabic Literature

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