Abu Nuwas. A Genius of Poetry by Philip Kennedy

By Philip Kennedy

Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) used to be one of many maximum Arab poets of the classical interval. In literary heritage, he's remembered mainly because the hard-drinking and eloquent composer of dissolute wine poems, from which he emerges as the most charismatic figures in global literature. but, he was once in reality an all-round poet and exerted a profound effect on Abbasid poetry extra ordinarily; he's one in every of a handful of people who could be deemed to face on the very middle of Arabic literary tradition. Abu Nuwas offers the enjoyable lifestyles tale of this mythical determine along available translations of a few of his most vital poems. With commentaries, a thesaurus and a consultant to extra studying, this publication is the best advent to a real genius of Arabic literature.

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Ghilman), which means literally ‘(older) boy’ but can also be applied to a male slave (of any age) and (euphemistically) to a eunuch, the word which appears most frequently in these contexts is amrad ( (pl. ” Only on one occasion did Abu Nuwas show that he was still attracted to, and tempted to seduce, an adolescent who had already acquired a beard. And he was fully aware that he had played the role of catamite to other men when in his youth, making light of the fact on one reported occasion. In the market place of Baghdad he encountered one Badr al-Juhani al-Barra’ in the company of some youths (ghilman).

And so they went on, gastronomy giving way to connoisseurship of wine, their reverie only finally being pricked by arrival at Hira. Abu Nuwas could refashion the world in poetry, and the world he created and inhabited was both real and imaginary. The medieval compilers of his life stories too created a largely imaginary world which we cannot but inhabit a part of it when we reconstruct his life. “LOVE, WINE, SODOMY . . ’ ” (D. iv, 196) “I have exhausted the expression of a lover’s grievance ...

3) He was beaten by the Nawbakht for the satire falsely attributed to him; wine appears to have had a role in the flailing emotions of his final hours (3 seems to be a combination of accounts 1 and 2). (4) He died in prison, a version which contradicts the many anecdotes stating that in the advent of his death he suffered illness and was visited by friends (though not in prison). He most probably died of ill health, and equally probably in the house of the Nawbakht family, whence the myth that they poisoned him.

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