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City of Beginnings$
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Robyn Creswell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182186

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182186.001.0001

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The Origins of the Arabic Prose Poem

The Origins of the Arabic Prose Poem

(p.121) Chapter Four The Origins of the Arabic Prose Poem
City of Beginnings

Robyn Creswell

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the origins of Arabic prose poem which, as understood by the Beiruti modernists, seemed to arise from an act of auscultation, or attention to interior rhythms. But how do these rhythms synchronize with the dynamism of modernity? How does the private music of the prose poem accord with what Adonis calls “the rhythm of our new life, a rhythm that renews itself in every instant”? Does the qasidat al-nathr originate abroad, or does it well up from the self? Although the Shi'r poets often translated foreign authors such as Robinson Jeffers and Saint-John Perse as though they belonged to a hoary native tradition, the Arab modernists' most common way of harmonizing these sources is to suppose a subject, namely “man,” who serves as a figure of mediation, translating from one side of this caesura to the other.

Keywords:   Arabic modernism, Arab modernists, poetry, prose, Adonis, Shi'r poets

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