Classical Arabic Verse: History and Theory of 'Arud

Classical Arabic Verse: History and Theory of 'Arud

Classical Arabic Verse: History and Theory of 'Arud

Classical Arabic Verse: History and Theory of 'Arud


Offering a vast panorama of the history of Arabic verse in its relation to Semitic verse, this work follows stages of its evolution from parallelistic pattern to the emergence of the three basic rhythms and then of the unique system of Ar d. It proposes a new interpretation of the original Arabic metrical theory including the famous circles of Khal as a kind of generative device and traces its relation to the grammatical and lexicographical theories of al-Khal l ibn Ah mad. The monograph provides the largest so far statistical data of the metrical repertory of Classical Arabic poetry, puts forward a hypothesis about the existence of the archaic Hiran metrical school side by side with the Bedouin school and describes main metrical types of Arabic poetry: Bedouin, h ran, ( Abbasid), Classical, Andalusian."


It is not without hesitation that I introduce my book to Englishspeaking colleagues. The change of language means much more than simple translation, since each language has its own mentality and mode of scholarly thinking. That is why the Russian original has been revised substantially even in those parts which did not need any corrections and additions.

In preparing this edition, careful consideration was given to reviews of the book by Russian scholars as well as by European colleagues who managed to overcome the language barrier. As a matter of fact it was their reaction to the book that encouraged me to undertake this enterprise.

An effort has been made to update the bibliographical matter and to keep abreast of progress in the field, with special attention to works in English.

Statistical data of the metrical repertory of Classical Arabic poetry in chapter 6 have been revised since many poetic dīwāns have recently become available to me and the Andalusian material taken from my article “Notes on the History of ʿArūḍ in al-Andalus” has been included in the chapter.

I have also made use of my paper “Metrical Dimension of Medieval Poetical Anthologies: The Case of al-Ḥīra,” published in the Proceedings of the 17th Congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (St. Petersburg, 1997), and two articles written in English after the publication of the book in Russian, “The Circles of al-Khalīl and the Structure of Luzūmiyyāt of Abu 'l-ʿAlaʾ al-Maʿarrī” and “The Place of al-Khalīl ibn Aḥmad in the History of Arabic Philology” (in press).

Most of Chapter 1 has been rewritten, but it is still nothing more than an attempt to bridge a gap between Semitic and Arabic studies made by a scholar of Arabic. To be successful it must be met by a similar attempt on the part of colleagues in comparative Semitic studies.

Published in AEA 6 (1995), 87–110.

Published in Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. Memorial Volume of
Karel Petráček. Prague, 1996, 223–236.

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