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Title: The Muwāzana of al-Āmidī
Author: Ashtiany, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3430 5134
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1983
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This study serves as an introduction to al-Āmidī's critical thought and to one version of a hitherto unpublished section of al-Muwāzana, Cambridge University Library Ms. Qq286 (which is reproduced in anno- tated form, Appendix, D). It also examines some of the main trends in the recent study and evaluation of 'Abbasid criticism,of which al- Muwāzana has, in the Arab world, become a focus. The Appendix (A-C) discusses editions and manuscript versions of the text, providing a reconstruction of the jumbled Ms. Qq286, and concludes that those portions of the work previously considered lost are most probably to be looked for in a different form - that of complementary rather than consecutive texts, fragments of one of which are already available in the footnotes to AZZĀM's standard edition of the Diwan of Abū Tammam; these are examined in some detail. Textual problems are also examined, in the light of related problems of interpretation, in Chapter I, in which the structure of the surviving portions of al-Muwāzana, which has often been considered haphazard, is shown to serve a specific didactic purpose consistent with the details of al-Āmidī's practical criticism. Chapter II_looks at this framework in greater detail, showing to what extent Āmidī is bound by inherited techniques, but also in what ways he succeeds in promoting a novel and rigorous definition of the scope of criticism. Chapter III continues Chapter II's scrutiny of the details of al-Āmidī's critical method, and explores the key element in al-Āmidī's critical thought, the notion of poetry as 'truth'; Chapter IV shows how he attempts to justify this notion in historical terms, and how, in so doing, he succeeds - where Ibn Ṭabāṭabā had earlier failed - in establishing poetic 'truth' as a general concept of some versatility. One of the concerns of Chapters II to IV is thus to reassess al-Āmidī's originality in the light of his transformation of earlier criticism, the nature of his debt to which- has often been misunderstood. The other is to reply to the question raised in the Introduction - what is the value of 'Abbasid criticism? can we afford to neglect it in favour of a direct approach to Arabic poetry? - by contrasting al-Āmidī's conception of the relationship between critic, reader and text with the concerns which dominate Arabic literary studies today. These are shown not to be without weaknesses and inconsistencies; the conclusion suggests that al-Āmidī's concern with poetic 'realism' - a contrast is implied with the current interest in the 'phantastic' and 'baroque' elements in 'Abbasid poetry - might provide fruitful ground for future literary research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Arabic literature ; History and criticism ; Criticism ; History