By Philip Kennedy
Abu Nuwas (c. 756-813) used to be one of many maximum Arab poets of the classical interval. In literary historical past, he's remembered mainly because the hard-drinking and eloquent composer of dissolute wine poems, from which he emerges as probably the most charismatic figures in international literature. but, he used to be in reality an all-round poet and exerted a profound impact on Abbasid poetry extra in general; he's one in all a handful of people who may be deemed to face on the very middle of Arabic literary tradition. Abu Nuwas provides the enjoyable existence tale of this mythical determine along obtainable translations of a few of his most crucial poems. With commentaries, a word list and a advisor to extra analyzing, this e-book is the correct advent to a real genius of Arabic literature.
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Additional resources for Abu Nuwas. A Genius of Poetry
He doubtless considered himself overwhelmingly to be an Arab poet – one firmly set within the Arab tradition; he was simply influenced in a relatively minor key by elements of a Persian ambience, as manifested in his celebrations of Nawruz and in the use of Persian vocabulary and names that pepper some fragments of his verse. Though in early Abbasid society there was an important and vociferous pro-Persian movement of literary figures, Abu Nuwas himself was anything but consistent and probably abhorred the complacency of any trenchant cultural, theological or political view.
This did not prevent him ridiculing his tutor by writing graffiti on the pillar of a mosque alluding to the fact that the latter enjoyed sex with boys: “God bless Lot and his tribe [of sodomites]; say, Amen! O Abu ‘Ubayda! ” A burlesque scene survives in apocrypha of Abu ‘Ubayda, bereft of all dignity, holding his catamite upon his shoulders, demanding that the writings be erased – no doubt, to the scornful mirth of those who sat and watched. ” he insisted. But Abu ‘Ubayda was neither devoid of humor nor gravity, and his opinion that Abu Nuwas was for the “Modern poets” (al-muhdathun) what Imru’ al-Qays was for the Ancients carries weight.
Rowson observes that “he could be specific about the ideal age of the beloved ... Whatever the boy’s age ... the crucial point is the hair. Besides the term ghulam (pl. 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.