Thu

28

Mar

2013

Cambridge History of Islam (1) - Arabic Literature

I got hold of the (old) Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 2B published in 1970. I finished reading the chapter 8 on "Literature," which covers Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu literatures written by 4 different authors. This is about the same vintage as Hodgson, and it is clear that in that generation, articles were clearly more open to listing out key authors to be informative, and thus did not mind explicitly part of the canon-formation process. The nice thing about this set of 4 sub-articles is that each mentions ~40 authors of note. Thus making a listing summary plausible.

 

Authors mentioned in the Arabic Literature section (in the order listed in the article):

1. Imru'l-Qays- foremost poet in pre-Islamic period

2. Qur'an - "massive prose work"

3. Dhu'l-Rumma (d. 735) - "anachronistic"

4. al-Akhtal (d. 710?)

5. al-Farazdaq (d. 728?)

6. Jarir (d. 732?)

7. 'Umar b. Abi Rabi'a (d. 719?)

8. Jamil (d. 701)

9. 'Abd al-Hamid b. Yahya (d. 750) - "first major katib"; prose

10. Ibn al-Muqaffa' (d. c. 757) - prose; Kalila wa-Dimna

11. al-Jahiz (d. 868) - prose

12. Badi' al-Zaman (d. 1007) - prose; first and "unsurpassed master of maqamat"; also rasa'il; Persian; among brightest stars in Arabic prose

13. Ibn al-'Amid (d. 970) - prose; Persian; among brightest stars in Arabic prose

14. al-Qadi al-Fadil (d. 1200) -  prose; Syria

15. Ibn Qutayba (d. 889)

16. al-Tawhidi (d. 1023)

17. Abu Bakr al-Khuwarizmi (d. 1002) - rasa'il

18. Abu'l-'Ala' al-Ma'arri (d. 1058) - Risalat al-ghufran; "most celebrated of all rasa'il" prose; Luzumiyyat; closes golden age of Arabic poetry 

19. Bashshar (d. 783)

20. Abu Nuwas (d. 810)

21. Abu Tamman (d. 846)

22. al-Buhturi (d. 897)

23. Ibn al-Rumi (d. 896)

24. Al-Mutanabbi (d. 965) - "greatest of all 'Abbasid poets"

25. al-Sanawbari - Syrian school representative

26. Ibn Hamdis (d. 1138) - "Arabic Wordsworth"; Muslim Occident

27. Ibn Khafaja (d. 1137) - Occident's most dedicated nature poet

28. Muqaddam b. Ju'afa - 9th c.; opaque figure

29. Ibn Quzman (d. 1159)

30. Ibn Zaydun (d. 1070) - one of "two main figures of Andalusian literature"

31. Ibn al-Khatib (d. 1374) - one of "two main figures of Andalusian literature"

32. al-Hariri (d. 1122) - Iraq; famous maqamat

33. Ibn al-Farid (d. 1235) - Egypt

34. Thousand and One Nights

35. Ibn al-Nadim

 

(Author clearly didn't like al-Hariri and the style he represented.) In my CWANA list, for Islamic period poet, I picked Abu Nuwas vs. al-Mutanabbi probably because Abu Nuwas opens a trend while al-Mutanabbi is sort of like the "last of the greats". For prose, the pick was al-Hariri vs. al-Zaman - probably because al-Muqaffa' and al-Jahiz probably more famous than al-Zaman yet these two are hard to make a short list, as al-Maqaffa' "translated" an Indian work, while al-Jahiz is more of a free-style essayist. These choices need some re-thinking.

 

Modern period:

36. Kahlil Gibran (d. 1931)

37. Mikha'il Naimy (b. 1889)

38. Taha Husayn (b. 1889)

39. Tawfiq al-Hakim (b. 1898)

40. Mahmud Taymur (b. 1894)

41. Najib Mahfuz (b. 1912)

42. Mahmud al-Mas'adi (b. 1900)

43. Mahmud Sami al-Barudi (d. 1904)

44. Ahmad Shawqi (d. 1932)

45. Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi (1909-34)

46. Tijani Bashi(1912-37)

47. Sa'id 'Aql

48. 'Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati (b. 1926)

49. Nazik al-Mala'ika (b. 1923)

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