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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 Countercanon

The Countercanon

Adonis’s Anthology of Arabic Poetry

(p.147) Chapter Five The Countercanon
City of Beginnings

Robyn Creswell

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on Adonis's Diwan al-shi'r al-'arabi [Anthology of Arabic Poetry], a three-volume florilegium published between 1964 and 1968 whose origins are in the dossiers of pre-Islamic poetry first published in Shi'r. The Diwan was the most consequential revision of the classical heritage undertaken by Adonis. It is a massive critical project that hews strictly to the original impetus of Shi'r, a movement based on the paired goals of literary autonomy and deprovincialization. How do these goals affect Adonis's decisions as an editor of the corpus of classical poetry? As a collection of citations from the turath, the Anthology is a work of internal translation in which source and target texts are exactly the same, though provided with a new context. The chapter suggests that while Adonis's countercanon seeks to restore those voices silenced by orthodoxy, his own choices, tailored to the needs of the present, impose their own exclusions and repressions.

Keywords:   Arabic poetry, Adonis, Diwan al-shi'r al-'arabi, Shi'r, Arabic modernism

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