Adam Talib

Abstract

This article presents a critical edition and study of a 17th/18th-century poetry collection that had previously been mistaken for al-Ṯaʿālibī’s lost Kitāb al-Ġilmān. It provides a codicological analysis of Berlin MS Wetzstein II 1786 in which the poetry collection is contained and also explains and corrects long-held misconceptions regarding al-Ṯaʿālibī’s connection with the text. Finally, the article situates this poetry collection in the context of Mamluk- and Ottoman-era epigram anthologies and the critical apparatus to the edition demonstrates the key features of intertextuality and popularity that characterised these poetry collections.

Adam Talib

Abstract

Ibn Nubātah’s printed Dīwān is an unreliable source that has led scholars to draw erroneous conclusions, among them the suggestion that we can perceive a difference in Ibn Nubātah’s treatment of his wife’s death and that of his concubine (jāriyah). In fact, the poems on which these conclusions are based were written for the same woman. Equally problematic for scholarship is the existence of poems that occur in multiple versions. This article treats the case of Ibn Nubātah al-Miṣrī’s (686-768/1287-1366) parallel mourning, and includes a critical edition of the texts under discussion based on more than ten manuscript copies of the poet’s Dīwān. It proposes that Ibn Nubātah’s opportunistic mourning is an efficient metaphor for the status of polyontic poetry (i.e. poems which occur in different versions in different contexts) in scholarship. In most cases, the longest version of a poem is granted the status of poetic original while all other instances of a poem, including those that appear in anthologies, are often treated as subsidiary. I argue that if we can learn to tolerate multiple instances of mannered mourning, we ought to be able to read polyontic poems in parallel.

Series:

Adam Talib

The qaṣīdah and the qiṭʿah are well known to scholars of classical Arabic literature, but the maqṭūʿ, a form of poetry that emerged in the thirteenth century and soon became ubiquitous, is as obscure today as it was once popular. These poems circulated across the Arabo-Islamic world for some six centuries in speech, letters, inscriptions, and, above all, anthologies. Drawing on more than a hundred unpublished and published works, How Do You Say “Epigram” in Arabic? is the first study of this highly popular and adaptable genre of Arabic poetry. By addressing this lacuna, the book models an alternative comparative literature, one in which the history of Arabic poetry has as much to tell us about epigrams as does Greek.