The ardiyyahs of Ibn al-Mu‘tazz: Breakthrough into Lyricism

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
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  • 1 The University of Chicago

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Abstract

This study presents an analytical review of the genre of the “hunt-poem” (ardiyyah) at the hand of the ‘Abbāsid poet Ibn al-Mu‘tazz (d. 296/908). It is in this period that the genre of the ardiyyah reaches its second apogee after the great pioneering Abū Nuwās. After dealing with issues of genre and prosody (rajaz versus the qaīdah meters), the study focuses its critical attention on Ibn al-Mu‘tazz’s overcoming of the strictly formulaic opening lyrical phrasing of the majority of the ardiyyahs, especially as the genre was formalized by Abū Nuwās. It is in overcoming the limitations of the formulaism of Abū Nuwās, which does not do justice to the genre’s lyrical promise, that Ibn al-Mu‘tazz achieves his breakthrough into lyricism and a reinvigoration of the genre. Through a close reading and translation of the Arabic texts, the study presents a careful identification of the variants of lyricism in Ibn al-Mu‘tazz’s repertory of the ardiyyah genre.

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