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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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“He Sang New Sorrow”

“He Sang New Sorrow”

Adonis and the Modernist Elegy

(p.169) Chapter Six “He Sang New Sorrow”
City of Beginnings

Robyn Creswell

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how marthiya is central not only to Adonis's revision of the classical corpus but also to his own poetry, which is full of a particular kind of elegy—those for fellow poets. It is by way of the elegy and its variations that Adonis negotiates his turn away from politics and seeks to establish a modernist countercanon, a series of imaginary filiations that provide him with a compensatory, nonpolitical authority. Even while bidding farewell, the elegist makes a claim upon his precursor, seeking to annex some of the previous poet's power. The elegy is in this sense another mode of translation, in which the poet asserts his right to a particular literary inheritance and projects its survival under unpropitious circumstances. Adonis's marathi are markedly distinct from the neoclassical and the collective elegy, his innovations spring from a refusal of their tropes and techniques.

Keywords:   Adonis, elegy, Arabic modernism, poet, poetry

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