Abu Nuwas

A Genius of Poetry

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About The Book

This is the first book to present the life, times and poetry of one of the greatest poets in the Arab tradition, Abu Nuwas. Author Philip Kennedy provides the narrative of Abu Nuwas's fascinating life, which was full of intrigue and debauched adventure, in parallel with the presentation of his greatest poems, across all genres, in easy and accessible translations, giving commentary where needed.

CONTENTS


Preface

Acknowledgments



1 “DANGLING LOCKS AND BABEL EYES” – A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF ABU NUWAS (c. 757–814)

Background and origins

Education

Love for Janan

The Move to Baghdad

The “Modern” Poet

Sexuality

Character and Temperament

Prison

Sojourn in Egypt

Death and Afterlife



2 “LOVE, WINE, SODOMY ... AND THE LASH” – THE LYRIC POETRY OF ABU NUWAS

Erotic Poetry

Two Traditions of Love Poetry – A Sketch

A Digest of Idealized Love

Inching towards Frivolity and Lust

The Psychology of Master and Servant

Turning the Tables

Pandering (to) Satan

Fear of Women and Other Anxieties

Seduction and Rape

Writing (and) Letters

Christian Boys

Wine Poetry

Beloved Wine

Failed Cross-Wooing and an Orgy

Two Views of Time

“Whose are the Remnants...?”

Trumping the Theologian

Dialogue with a Jewish Taverner

Numinous Wine

Jonah Comes Out of the Whale

3 “THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY” – ON PANEGYRIC AND SATIRE

The Panegyric

A. Formal and Sober

B. Less Formal and Less Sober

C. Occasional and Miscellaneous Eulogy

“Pens Dipped in Bitter Gall” – Satire

Bread and Bereavement

The Politics of State and al-Amin

Spite and Sacrilege

Tasteless Ja‘far the Barmecide

The Alchemist and Phony Genealogies

Isma‘il ibn Abi Sahl

The Stolen Member

Quack Philosopher of Egypt

Onanist Job

A Prison Consultation

Servants and Singing Girls

Fatal Provocation?

4 SOME HUNTING POEMS AND A GAME OF POLO

A Saluki Hound

The Cheetah

Elegy for a Hound

The Polo Match



5 “POETRY FOR MORTALS AND THE DEAD” – ON THE ASCETIC POEM AND THE ELEGY

The Ascetic Poem

A Righteous Dowry

Man’s Mortal Genealogy

The Danger of Empty Talk

Eloquent Simplicity

Sound and Meaning

The Permanent Ink of the Angels

The Elegy

For Harun al-Rashid (d. 809)

For Muhammad ibn Zubayda “al-Amin” (d. 813)

For the Barmecides

Fragment for His Son

For Waliba ibn al-Hubab

For a Sick Friend

For Himself



An Afterword – “Walk the Even Path with Me ...”

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Academic (December 1, 2012)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781780741888

Raves and Reviews

Geert Jan van Gelder - Laudian Professor of Arabic, Oxford University"Philip has written a very good book on the great (in my view) greatest Arabic poet, Abu Nuwas... The literary analysis is generally excellent, balanced and erudite."

"Philip has written a very good book on the great (in my view) greatest Arabic poet, Abu Nuwas… The literary analysis is generally excellent, balanced and erudite."

– Geert Jan van Gelder - Laudian Professor of Arabic, Oxford University

"Philip has written a very good book on the great (in my view) greatest Arabic poet, Abu Nuwas… The literary analysis is generally excellent, balanced and erudite."

– Geert Jan van Gelder - Laudian Professor of Arabic, Oxford University

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