Irwin - Chapter 4

Back to Robert Irwin's Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature.


Again, I will only include names of authors whose works get quoted separately as part of the intended "anthology"; and only include cited authors who fell between the official scope of the chapter's coverage.


Prose authors

- Ibn Washshiyya: Nabataean; al-Filahah al-Nabatiya ('Nabataean Agriculture'); Kitab al-Sumum ('Book of Poisons')

- Ibn al-Muqaffa': Kalila wa-Dimna (his most famous work, one of the two most famous works of medieval Arab prose - the other is Hariri's Maqamat); Kitab Adab al-Kabir ('The Grand Book of Conduct'); Risala al-Sahaba ('A Letter on the Entourage')

- al-Jahiz (c. 776-868/9): Kitab al-Hayawan ('Book of Animals, 7 volumes; his most famous work); Risalat al-Qiyan ('Letter on Singing-Girls'); Kitab al-Bukhala' ('Book of Misers', one of his best-known works); Chance of Creation?; Kitab al-Tarbi' wa al-Tadwir ('The Book of the Square and the Round')

- Ibn Qutayba (828-829): Kitab Adab al-Katib ('The Book of the Culture of the Scribe'); 'Uyun al-Akhbar ('Sources of Narratives', his best-known work)

- Al-Washsha (860-936): Kitab al-Muwashsha ('The Book of Coloured Cloth')



- Bashshar (714-84): the first and foremost of literary innovators (who ditch Jahili models)

- Ibn al-Ahnaf (d. after 808?): specilist in the short poem the qit'a

- Abu Nuwas (b. between 747-762, d. ~814): Diwan; perhaps the most accomplished, and certainly the most famous, of these Khamriyya poets (on wine and drinking)

- Abu al-'Atahiyya ('Father of Craziness', 748-826)

- al-Hallaj (c. 858-922): Sufi poet, has Diwan

- Abu Tammam (c. 805-45): most famous poem is a qasida; also compiler of anthology known as Hamasa ('Boldness' - the first of the 10 thematic secitons of the anthology)

- al-Buhturi (821-97): famous as the leading specialist in wasf, or descriptive poetry

- Ibn al-Mu'tazz (861-908): poet; Kitab al-Badi' (877-8) dealt with aesthetics of conteporary poetry; together with Buhturi, one of the earliest and most distinguished practitioners of wasf; was Abbasid caliph for 1 day (his last!)

- Ibn al-Rumi (836-96)


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