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By M. M. Badawi

This booklet is the 1st severe survey of the advance and achievements of ‘modern’ Arabic poetry, the following signifying the interval from the latter half the 19th century to the current day. It levels over the whole Arabic-speaking global and features a dialogue of the paintings of poets who emigrated to the U.S. and Latin the USA. 4 major phases are tested within the improvement of a particularly glossy Arabic poetry: the ‘neoclassical’, during which poets grew to become to their literary historical past for his or her beliefs and thought; the pre-romantic’, which was once marked by way of a rigidity among a transformed classical variety and new romantic sentiments, itself the mirrored image of a much wider cultural flow in the direction of switch and modernization; the ‘romantic’, during which the tensions among shape and content material have been resolved, and a lyricism and straightforwardness of language turn into the norm; and the ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ that is typified through a response opposed to romanticism, and ruled by means of both dedicated social realism or symbolism and surrealism. within the absence of any related released paintings in a ecu language, the publication, in addition to being designed for college kids of Arabic literature and of comparative literature, can be of curiosity to the final reader. No wisdom of Arabic is presupposed: all of the verse (newly translated via the writer) is given in English translation, and technical terminology has been diminished to a minimal.

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As is clear from the poem al-Rabi' wa wadi'l Nil (Spring and the Nile Valley) Shauqi views nature from outside and in terms of civilized society. His description is very detailed, and the overall impression is not altogether dissimilar from that of mosaic or tapestry, although now and again an observation in the form of an image, a simile or a metaphor reveals deep feeling or pathos. Underlying the whole poem, as indeed is the case with much of Shauqi's poetry, including his nature poetry, is an attitude to life which views it and its pleasures as a fleeting moment in time.

Paradoxically enough there is more lyricism and passion in some of the speeches of lovers in his dramas, especially, as is to be expected, in his Majnun Laila, than in many of Shauqi's own love poems. But the personal element is there nonetheless, although often combined with nostalgia and a looking back upon the past. Because it is nearly always recollected in tranquillity the emotion naturally loses something of its sharp edge and poignancy. A typical example is his poem 'Bois de Boulogne' (n,30).

Furthermore, despite the poet's moral and philosophical meditations this is a deeply patriotic poem (as the last seven lines clearly show). All this is conveyed through a series of impressive images and ideas: such as the image of sand stretching before the Sphinx and on both sides like 'the sins of men'(i, 162), or men wondering at the strange form of the Sphinx as half man, half beast, while if their own outward form were to be a faithful expression of their true nature they should all have the shapes of beasts of prey (160), or the image of the Sphinx 'mounting the sand' and journeying endlessly through days and nights (158), or crouching there from time immemorial and witnessing the birth and death of one world after another and the endless procession of empires.

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