THE DECLINE OF COURTLY PATRONAGE AND THE APPEARANCE OF NEW GENRES IN ARABIC LITERATURE: THE CASE OF THE ZAJAL, THE MAQĀMA, AND THE SHADOW PLAY

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

This article begins with a detailed structural analysis of "Zajal 90" by the Andalusī poet Ibn Quzmān (d. 555/1160). On the basis of this analysis, It is concluded that the poem employs irony to condemn the anti-Berber prejudice prevalent among native Andalusīs in Almoravid-ruled twelfth-century al-Andalus. It is also pointed out that the poem shares a number of key features with the maqāma genre, and may, in fact, be viewed as a maqāma in verse. The article then ascribes the invention of the maqāma genre by al-Hamadānī (358/969-398/1008) in the East, as well as its cultivation by al-Saraqustī (d. 538/1143) in the West, to two separate but parallel crises in literary patronage that took place (1) when the Persian-speaking Buwayhids reduced the Arab Abbāsid caliphs to puppets in Iraq (334/945), and (2) when the Berber-speaking Almoravids deposed the Arabic-speaking mulūk al-tawā if (448/1056) in al-Andalus. The article concludes by drawing a parallel between the above crises in literary patronage, and the rise of the shadow play, as it was cultivated by Ibn Dāniyāl (d. 710/1310), in late thirteenth-century Egypt, under the régime of the Mamlūk Sultan Baybars I (r. 658/1260-676/1277). Finally, the article attempts to illustrate how certain crises in literary patronage - resulting in the abandonment of the courtly, panegyrical qasīda - often led to extremely creative attempts at incorporating popular genres into the canon of formal Arabic literature.

THE DECLINE OF COURTLY PATRONAGE AND THE APPEARANCE OF NEW GENRES IN ARABIC LITERATURE: THE CASE OF THE ZAJAL, THE MAQĀMA, AND THE SHADOW PLAY

in Journal of Arabic Literature

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