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  • Print publication year: 1990
  • Online publication date: May 2012

9 - ʿAbbasid poetry and its antecedents

Summary
The difference between the formal ode and the occasional poem seems to have been already fairly well established in pre-Islamic poetry. The pre-Islamic qasidah was the product of a tribal desert society with its own ethos and values. It was created to celebrate these values, and by a ritualistic catharsis to enable its hearers to face issues of life and death in a usually harsh environment. This chapter considers the main differences between the Primary and Secondary Qasidah. The element which led critics to identify modernism with Abbasid poetry was thematic. Humour is evinced, in which poets used poetic tradition, either turning a convention upside down in order to poke fun at it while at the same time exploiting it, or manipulating it for their own purposes. In both cases, poets managed to produce poetry of supreme irony. Al-Buhturi is generally regarded as the skilful descriptive poets in an age which witnessed remarkable developments in the descriptive genre.
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Abbasid Belles Lettres
  • Online ISBN: 9781139424905
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521240161
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