The Poetics of Islamic Legitimacy: Myth, Gender, and Ceremony in the Classical Arabic Ode

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“ . . . transcends the realm of literature and poetic criticism to include virtually every field of Arabic and Islamic studies.” —Roger Allen Throughout the classical Arabic ... literary tradition, from its roots in pre-Islamic Arabia until the end of the Golden Age in the 10th century, the courtly ode, or qasida, dominated other poetic forms. In The Poetics of Islamic Legitimacy, Suzanne Stetkevych explores how this poetry relates to ceremony and political authority and how the classical Arabic ode encoded and promoted a myth and ideology of legitimate Arabo-Islamic rule. Beginning with praise poems to pre-Islamic Arab kings, Stetkevych takes up poetry in praise of the Prophet Mohammed and odes addressed to Arabo-Islamic rulers. She explores the rich tradition of Arabic praise poems in light of ancient Near Eastern rites and ceremonies, gender, and political culture. Stetkevych’s superb English translations capture the immediacy and vitality of classical Arabic poetry while opening up a multifaceted literary tradition for readers everywhere. Read more Show Less

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The Poetics of Islamic Legitimacy shows that the classical Arabic ode promulgated a myth and ideology of legitimate Arabo-Islamic rule. Stetkevych explores the rich traditions of Arabic prasie poems in light of Near Eastern sacral kingship, rituals, and ceremonies of allegiance, supplication, and negotiation, gender and political power, and competition for the insignias of religious and political authority. The superb translations capture the immediacy and vitality of this poetry for readers everywhere.

Author Biography: Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych is Professor of Arabic Literature and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is author of The Mute Immortals Speak: Pre-Islamic Poetry and the Poetics of Ritual (Cornell, 1993) and editor of Reorientations: Arabic and Persian Poetry (Indiana University Press, 1994). She serves as editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253341198
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration
1 Transgression and Redemption: Cuckolding the King: Al-Nabighah al-Dhubyani and the Pre-Islamic Royal Ode 1
2 Transmission and Submission: Praising the Prophet: Ka'b ibn Zuhayr and the Islamic Ode 48
3 Celebration and Restoration: Praising the Caliph: Al-Akhtal and the Umayyad Victory Ode 80
4 Supplication and Negotiation: The Client Outraged: Al-Akhtal and the Supplicatory Ode 110
5 Political Dominion as Sexual Domination: Abu al-'Atahiyah, Abu Tammam, and the Poetics of Power 144
6 The Poetics of Political Allegiance: Praise and Blame in Three Odes by al-Mutanabbi 180
7 The Poetics of Ceremony and the Competition for Legitimacy: Al-Muhannad al-Baghdadi, Muhammad ibn Shukhays, Ibn Darraj al-Qastalli, and the Andalusian Ode 241
App. of Arabic Texts 283
Notes 325
Works Cited 361
Index 371
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