Federico García Lorca and Salāh 'Abd al-Sabūr as Composers of Modern Ballads: A Comparative Study

in Journal of Arabic Literature
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Abstract

As a comparative study, this paper aims at revealing the impact of Federico García Lorca's (1898-1936) collection of poems in his Gypsy Ballads (1928) on the poetry of Salāh 'Abd al-Sabūr (1931-1981), particularly on his poems in the collection of al-Nās fī Bilādī [People in My Country, 1957]. The study shows that Lorca's in fluence was both generic and stylistic, and that these elements enabled 'Abd al-Sabūr to discard his initial Romantic subjectivism, engage his poetry in the pressing issues of his age, and modernize his poetry through using appropriate modes of expression that enabled him to speak the language of his times. Through reading Lorca's work, 'Abd al-Sabūr introduced the European popular ballad into Arabic poetry (and combined it with elements from the Egyptian popular narratives); he fused the ballad with poetic devices that Lorca had applied to the ballad, so as to modernize the genre, and use it as a means for expressing his poetical concerns. To achieve its purposes, the study compares three of 'Abd al-Sabūr's poems, namely "Hajāma al-Tatār" [The Tartars Attacked], "Shanq Zahrān," [The Execution of Zahrān], and al-Nās fī Bilādī [People in My Country] with Lorca's "Ballad of the Civil Guard."

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