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Volume :39 Issue : 155 2021      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Dialectical Relationship Between Death and Life in Ahmad al-Asi’s Poetry (in Arabic).

Auther : Abbas Alhadad

This study aims to reveal an almost unknown page in the history of contemporary Arab poetry by analyzing the poetry of the Egyptian poet ʾĀḥmd Ālʿāṣy, who committed suicide by setting himself on fire when he was twenty-seven years old. Ālʿāṣy left a single collection of poetry under the title “dywān Ālʿāṣy.” He personally printed and published it and promised readers to release the second part. Ālʿāṣy was admired by literary circles, for even the great Egyptian poet ʾāḥmd Šūqī presented Ālʿāṣy’s dywān with verses preaching the birth of a promising poet who would be a notable addition to the world of literature. However, it was his short life and tragic end that made him absent from the memory of the critics. The study adopted an analytical methodology whereby, through close reading, the various aspects of the poet’s life and creativity experience were highlighted. The research reveals that the dialectical relationship between life and death was the main theme in Ālʿāṣy’s poetry. The study begins with a brief biography of the poet. Afterwards, it explores a number of textual thresholds of the dywān (seuils or paratext, as termed by the French critic Gérard Genette). These are the title page, Šūqī’s preface of the dywān, the structure that Ālʿāṣy designed, and his only fictional work “ġādẗ lbnān”.
The analysis shows that Ahmad Šūqī’s character and his theatrical poetry had a clear impact on Ālʿāṣy’s life and poetry. The study linked a number of scenes in Šūqī’s play “mṣrʿ klīūbātrā” to the poet’s tragic ending, for both the poet and the queen seek for salvation in death. The study also thoroughly analyzes the last poem “qissat al-mawt” [the Story of Death], as it most accurately depicts the poet’s vision of the dialectical relationship between life and death. The study concludes that Ālʿāṣy’s experience is exceptional and unique, and that it is an important contribution to contemporary Arabic poetry.
It is noteworthy to mention that there are similar cases to that of ʾĀḥmd Ālʿāṣy in Arabic literature as well as in world literature. Thus, the study recommends further research to be made revolving around the phenomenon of suicide committed by poets. Specifically, the relationship between this phenomenon and poetic creativity should be the focus of future studies.
Keywords:
ʾĀḥmd Ālʿāṣy - mṣrʿ klīūbātrā - paratext - the dialectic of life and death - Poetic preciosity - Modern Arabic poetry.

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Dec 08, 2019

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