The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry: Abu Nuwas and the Literary Tradition

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The classical period of Arab civilization produced the most extensive and highly developed bacchic tradition in world literature, In this book, the author traces the history of classical Arabic wine poetry from its origins in sixth century Arabia to its heyday in Baghdad at the turn of the ninth century. The focus is on the greatest and perhaps most likeable of Arabic poets, Abu Nuwas. Although wine poetry is only one of the many genres for which he is known, it is the one that has ensured his fame, and the one on which this book concentrates. The wine songs of the poet are analysed and their connections with poetics, ethics, and religion are explored. The author also puts Abu Nuwas in perspective by comparing him with his most important predecessors and contemporaries and by discussing his interaction with other poetic genres such as amatory, invective, ascetic, or gnomic verse.