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Arabic Literature الأدب العربي: Classical (Islamic Era) & Medieval Arabic Literature الأدب العربي الكلاسيكي و العصر الوسيط

This research and study guide aggregates resources useful for the study of Arabic literature of all periods. The guide serves as an introduction to resources available through Cornell University Library system.

Introduction مقدمة

Classical Arabic literature, for the purposes of this guide, dates from the mid- 7th century CE, ca. 660, or the period following the advent of Islam. It was directly influenced by the historical events of its time.  Literary material attributed to the first phase of classical Arabic poetry, the marthiya (الرثاء)and the qasida (قَصِيدَة) genres both continued to evolve, reflecting imminent societal concerns.  These included the development of Islam, as well as the cultural symbiosis produced by its rapid expansion.  Therefore, poetic expression expanded in directions, which encouraged exploration of the self, political commitment, and deeper meditation.  As a result, poetic themes transformed, producing three new genres: the love poem (ghazal غزَل), the political poem (al-Shi'r al-siyasi الشعر السياسي), and the ascetic poem (zuhdiyya زهدّيات). Moreover, the development of Arabic poetry at the end of the 7th century and beginning of the 8th century was accompanied by a significant renewal of literary prose. This was evident in an intense diversification of the art of rhetoric, which reflected the eloquence of oratory discourse in a variety of themes.  It was also apparent in the creation of a new genre, the epistle, written in a fluid direct style that used picturesque expressions and strongly accented rhythms. Finally, this transformation was evident in the acclimatization of the fable, such as Kalila wa-Dimna (كليلة ودمنة) a collection of Indian fables, translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Muqaffa ابن المقفع)) in the 8th century.  Thanks to the reciprocity of these exchanges, these literary forms also transferred to other languages and cultures, such as Persian and Turkish.  Through the originality of their content and elegance of style, these works inaugurated a new literary period that embodied the creative contributions from a diversity of cultures that are shared today.

صدر الإسلام  * العصر الأموي * العصر العباسي * عصر الدول المتتابعة * العصر الأندلسي

Classical Sources * Background & Reference

The Arabian Nights (uncensored version, 1850) / by Sir Richard F. Burton


Abbasid Belles Lettres  Cambridge Histories Online

Abu Firas al-Hamdani

Udabāʾ al-ʻArab fī al-Andalus wa-ʻaṣr al-inbiʻāth, ḥayātuhum, athāruhum, naqd athārihim [1968] Bustānī, Buṭrus. Book [Bayrūt] Dār al-Makshūf wa-Dār al-Thaqāfah. [1968] Arabic. Ṭabiʻah jadīdah munaqqaḥah [al-ṭabaʻah 6.] Olin Library PJ7510 .B98 1968

Udabāʾ al-ʻArab fī al-aʻṣur al-ʻAbbāsīyah, ḥayātuhum, āthāruhum, naqd āthārihim [1968] Bustānī, Buṭrus. Book [Bayrūt] Dār al-Makshūf [1968] Arabic. Ṭabʻah [6] jadīdah munaqqaḥah. Olin Library PJ7530 .B98 1968

Udabāʾ al-ʻArab fī al-Jāhilīyah wa-ṣadr al-Islām : ḥayātuhum, āthāruhum, naqd āthārihim 1967  Bustānī, Buṭrus. Book Bayrūt : Dār Ṣādir, 1967. Arabic. al-Ṭabʻah 9. Olin Library PJ7526.B98 U3 1967

Ibn Hazm: an Islamic Source of Courtly Love / by DN Hickman - ‎2014

Medieval Arabic Love Theory between Dissonance and Consonance

Theory of profane love among the Arabs / by Lois Anita Giffen, 1971

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