Kitab Naqd al-Shi’r. كتاب نقد الشعر

Bin Ja'far, abu al-Faraj Qudama

Book ID: 23463


8vo. 89 pp., Arabic text within borders, contemporary embossed soiled cloth, foxing throughout, weak joints, Matbaʻat ʼal-Jawaʼib, first edition, 1302 A. H. / 1884.


Little is known with certainty about Qudama ibn Ja’far al-Katib al-Baghdadi (ca. 873- ca. 932/948), also known as Abu’l Faraj. He was a Syriac scholar and administrator for the Abbasid Caliphate, who converted to Islam. Of his several books on philosophy, history, philology, and administration, only three have survived: the first Kitab al-Kharaj (the Book of Land Tax), the second Kitab al-Alfaz (Book of Words), and the third which is this work, Kitab Naqd al-Shi’r (Evaluation of Poetry), an essay and guide to composing good poetry. The work provides specific criteria for assessing the quality of poetry. The author defines it as “discourse with rhyme, metre, and intention”. What is perhaps most remarkable is that this specific definition of poetry, based on both rhyme and metre, was to remain the predominant criterion in any definition of the poetic in Arabic until mid-20th century.

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