The Composition of Mutanabbī's Panegyrics to Sayf al-Dawla


The purpose of this study is to identify and describe recurrent patterns of composition in the twenty two major panegyrics Mutanabbī wrote to Sayf al-Dawla during his stay at the ḥamdānid court in Aleppo between 337/948 and 345/956.
It discusses the types of utterance used in endings and in cadential lines before definable internal boundaries, the organising conventions of the passages that lead into and out of chronicles of military campaigns, the non-random placement of certain crescendo motifs, various means of local organisation in poems without events, etc. It also considers brief differences in technique between the Aleppo period and Mutanabbī's earlier and later work, and casts a glance at possible predecessors.
Based on a sizable and coherent sample of poetry, this study demonstrates that compositional rules and predilections played a pervasive role in Mutanabbī's writing in the years when his career was at its height.

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Andras Hamori is Professor of Arabic, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University. Publications: Chapters on "Love poetry," "Ascetic poetry," and al- Mutanabbī in Vol. II of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature (1990); various articles on classical Arabic Poetry and on the Thousand and One Nights, and On the Art of Medieval Arabic Literature (1974).
' Andreas Hamori's book fills a gap in our knowledge of the poet and his favorite genre, and, at the same time, opens up new lines of enquiry, which may prove valuable for the study of other poets as well.' Renate Jacobi, Journal of American Oriental Society, 1994. ‘ This study by Hamori is a very useful one, it is an eye-opener...[it] is to be considered as a mile stone in the study and analysis of Classical Arabic poetry.' A. Schippers, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 1995.
specialists in Arabic literature.