The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry: Abu Nuwas and the Literary Tradition

By Philip F. Kennedy | Go to book overview

3
Hijā', the Bacchic Naqā'iḍ, and the Rhetorical Wine Poem

Within the broad possibilities of generic transformation already demonstrated in various ways in Chapter 1, it remains for us to examine a development of Hijā', from the Jāhiliyya to the early 'Abbāsid period. Elements of lampoon, argument, and discourse in Abū Nuwās' wine poetry constitute, in part, a development from what may be termed the Naqā'iḍ al-khamr of the Umayyad period. The Naqā'iḍ, in general, stem directly from Hijā'; they are by definition simply duelling dialogues of Hijā'.1 Since wine poetry became a medium of such "flytings" it is interesting that in the earliest poetry wine as a theme was subject to the mood of Hijā' as much as it was to fakhr or any other movement, mood, or theme. In the Umayyad period reciprocal censure and Hijā' came together in the Naqā'iḍ of wine; these may be seen to be part of the literary backdrop by which Abū Nuwās was influenced and to which he added a new quality of rhetoric or dialectic, aided by the deft structuring of his wine poems.


THE JĀhiliyya

In the Jāhiliyya it was through fakhr that the poet rebutted the censurer--the best known example existing in Ṭarafa's Mu'allaqa.2 Furthermore, the type of ḥikma which was derived from contemplations on life and death also encouraged and supported khamr in defiance of the communal voice of caution. A particularly clear example survives in poem 9 of the Mufaḍḍaliyyāt usually attributed to Mutammim b. Nuwayra. In this ode three lines of khamr defy the censurer (line 28):3

____________________
1
For a detailed description of this genre see Aḥmad al-Šāyib's Ta'rīkh al- Naqā'iḍ.
2
See Ch. 2, pp. 90-1.
3
See Lyall, The Mufaḍḍaliyyāt, i. 20-3; ed. Šākir, p. 52. I quote Lyall's translation.

-149-

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The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry: Abu Nuwas and the Literary Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Khamr, Nasīb, and Ghazal 19
  • Conclusion: Muslim B. Al-Walīd and Abū Nuwās 81
  • 2 - Islam and Al-Dahr in the Khamriyya 86
  • Conclusion 148
  • 3 - Hijā', the Bacchic Naqā'Iḍ, and the Rhetorical Wine Poem 149
  • 4 - Ḥilm and Tawba 194
  • Conclusion 240
  • Conclusion 241
  • Appendix a the Qaṣīdas of a L-A ˓šā Containing Khamr 245
  • Appendix B - Texts and Translations 262
  • Glossary of Arabic Terms 280
  • Bibliography 286
  • Index of Authors of Secondary Literature 295
  • General Index 297
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