Nāzik al-Malāʾikah and Edgar Allan Poe: Their Poetry and Related Poetics

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
Boutheina Khaldi American University of Sharjah

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This study argues that Nāzik al-Malāʾikah’s poetics—as indicated in her “Introduction” to her collection Shaẓāyā wa-ramād and her book Qaḍāyā al-shiʿr al-muʿāṣir—is in conversation with the famous American poet, critic, and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe’s poetics. This affinity has not been properly noted by critics, as their discussions have been limited to issues of form, content, or borrowings from Poe’s poems. This article argues that al-Malāʾikah’s elaborations on Poe are more profound than hitherto assumed since they articulate a different kind of formal poetics altogether. The chief characteristics of this poetics can be identified as sound/rhythm, concision, refrain (or repetition, with variation). While these innovative instances are foundational in her literary criticism, her poetry also conveys other venues of indebtedness and conversation.

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