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

7 - Al-Hamadhānī, al-Ḥarīrī and the maqāmāt genre

In the second half of the fourth/tenth century, a young man from Hamadhan in western Persia, Ahmad b. al-Husayn al-Hamadhani, set out to make an impression on the literary world, and in particular to challenge the position of al-Khwarazmi. Al-Hamadhani's Maqamat comprise several pieces: the three main editions each have a total of fifty-one maqamahs, but the Cairo and Istanbul editions have one that is not in the Beirut edition. A feature of the social scene in Hamadhani's time was a slightly prurient fascination with the seamy side of life, perhaps a reaction from the overrefined and over-sophisticated society of the great cities in Abbasid times. Hamadhani's Maqamat was reserved for an author after Hamadhani, namely Abu l-Hasan al-Qasim b. Ali Ibn al-Hariri, usually known as al-Hariri. Hariri's Maqamat had tremendous influence in following centuries, and inspired imitators, including a seventh/thirteenth century Spanish Jew, Judah ben Solomon Harizi, who wrote a collection of Haririan maqamahs in Hebrew.
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Abbasid Belles Lettres
  • Online ISBN: 9781139424905
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