The Mute Immortals Speak by Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Mute Immortals Speak

The Mute Immortals Speak

by Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych
     
 

A body of Bedouin oral poetry which was collected in the second or third Islamic century, the pre-Islamic qasidah, or ode, stands with the Qur'an as a twin foundation of Arabo-Islamic literary culture. Throughout the rich fifteen-hundred-year history of classical Arabic literature, the qasidah served as profane anti-text to the sacred text of the

Overview

A body of Bedouin oral poetry which was collected in the second or third Islamic century, the pre-Islamic qasidah, or ode, stands with the Qur'an as a twin foundation of Arabo-Islamic literary culture. Throughout the rich fifteen-hundred-year history of classical Arabic literature, the qasidah served as profane anti-text to the sacred text of the Qur'an.

While recognizing the esteem in which Arabs have traditionally held this poetry of the pagan past, modern critics in both East and West have yet to formulate a poetics that would provide the means to analyze and evaluate the qasidah. Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych here offers the first aesthetics appropriate for this orally composed Arabic verse, an aesthetics that is built on—and tested on—close readings of a number of the poems.

Drawing on the insights of contemporary literary theory, anthropology, and the history of religions, Stetkevych maintains that the poetry of the qasidah is ritualized in both form and function. She brings to bear an extensive body of lore, legend, and myth as she interprets individual themes and images with references to rites of passage and rituals of sacrifice. Her English translations of the poems under discussion convey the power and beauty of the originals, as well as a sense of their complex intertextuality and distinctive lexicon.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Mute Immortals Speak will be of interest to anyone seriously interested in Islam. It should also engage a wide, interdisciplinary audience through its demonstration that at the heart of the qasidah and its satellite genres is a central human dilemma involving human identity, conflict, belonging, and community."—International Journal of Middle East Studies

"In this analysis of the great Arabic language classics, the pre-Islamic ode, or qasidah, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych ventures into such various fields as anthropology, religion, gender studies, history, philology, and folklore to augment her effectiveness as a literary theorist. Combining insights gleaned using the tools of these many disciplines, she has produced a brilliantly original and thought provoking analysis. . . . By giving voice to the mute immortals, Stetkevych has made these pre-Islamic masterworks accessible to a wider readership. In shedding much-needed light on these poems, the ethos of which has suffused the Arabic literary tradition since the beginning of Islam, Stetkevych has opened a door to understanding the Arab world."—American Anthropologist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801480461
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
03/17/2011
Series:
Myth and Poetics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

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