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Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī – variant: Al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī 'Abd al-Awal al-Ṣabāḥ, Abū 'Alī (الحسن بن هانئ بن عبد الأول بن الصباح ،ِابو علي) known as Abū Nuwās al-Salamī (أبو نواس السلمي)[1], or just Abū Nuwās[2] (أبو نواس Abū Novās) – (c. 756 – c. 814), was a classical Arabic poet. Born in the city of Ahvaz in modern-day Iran to an Arab father and a Persian mother, he became a master of all the contemporary genres of Arabic poetry. He also entered the folkloric tradition, appearing several times in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. He died during the civil war before al-Ma’mūn advanced from Khurāsān either in 199 or 200 AH (814-816 AD).[3]

Abu Nuwas
Abu Nuwas drawn by Khalil Gibran in 1916.
Abu Nuwas drawn by Khalil Gibran in 1916.
BornAbū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī
c. 756
Ahvaz, Abbasid Caliphate
Diedc. 814 (aged 57–58)
Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate
OccupationPoet

Early life; his workEdit

Abu Nuwas' father, Hānī, whom the poet never knew, was an Arab, a descendant of the Jizani tribe Banu Hakam, and a soldier in the army of Marwan II. His Persian mother, named Jullaban, worked as a weaver. Biographies differ on the date of Abu Nuwas' birth, ranging from 747 to 762. Some sources say he was born at Basra.[2]

Ismail bin Nubakht: "I never saw a man of more extensive learning than Abu Nuwas, nor one who, with a memory so richly furnished, possessed so few books. After his death we searched his house, and could only find one book-cover containing a quire of paper, in which was a collection of rare expressions and grammatical observations."[4]

LegacyEdit

He is one of various people credited with inventing the literary form of the mu‘ammā (literally "blinded" or "obscured"), a riddle which is solved "by combining the constituent letters of the word or name to be found";[5] he was certainly a major exponent of the form.[6]

While his works were freely in circulation until the early years of the twentieth century, in 1932 the first modern censored edition of his works appeared in Cairo. In January 2001, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture ordered the burning of some 6,000 copies of books of homoerotic poetry by Abu Nuwas.[7][8] Any mention of pederasty was omitted from his entry in the Saudi Global Arabic Encyclopedia.[9]

In 1976, a crater on the planet Mercury was named in honor of Abu Nuwas.[10]

A heavily fictionalised Abu Nuwas is the protagonist of the novels The Father of Locks (Dedalus Books, 2009) and The Khalifah's Mirror (2012) by Andrew Killeen, in which he is depicted as a spy working for Ja'far al-Barmaki.[11]

In the Sudanese novel Season of Migration to the North (1966) by Tayeb Salih, Abu Nuwas's love poetry is cited extensively by one of the novel's protagonists, the Sudanese Mustafa Sa'eed, as a means of seducing a young English woman in London: "Does it not please you that the earth is awaking,/ That old virgin wine is there for the taking?"[12]

BaghdadEdit

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, the author of The History of Baghdad, wrote that Abu Nuwas was buried in Shunizi cemetery in Baghdad.[13]

The city has several places named for the poet. Abū Nuwās Street runs along the east bank of the Tigris that was once the city’s showpiece.[14] Abu Nuwas Park is also located there on the 2.5-kilometer stretch between the Jumhouriya Bridge and a park that extends out to the river in Karada near the 14th of July Bridge.[15]

Swahili cultureEdit

The Tanzanian artist Godfrey Mwampembwa (Gado) created a Swahili comic book called Abunuwasi, which has adaptations of three of the Abunuwasi stories.[16] The book was published by Sasa Sema Publications in 1996.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  • Khallikān (Ibn), Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad (1843). Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary (tr. Wafayāt al-A‘yān wa-al-Anbā Abnā’ al-Zamān). i. Translated by McGuckin de Slane, William. London: W.H. Allen. pp. 391–395.
  • Nadīm (al), Abū al-Faraj Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq Abū Ya’qūb al-Warrāq (1970). Dodge, Bayard (ed.). The Fihrist of al-Nadim; a tenth-century survey of Muslim culture. i. New York & London: Columbia Unversity Press. pp. 352–3.

Editions and translationsEdit

  • Dīwān Abū Nu’ās, khamriyyāt Abū Nu’ās, ed. by ‘Alī Najīb ‘Aṭwi (Beirut 1986)
  • O Tribe That Loves Boys. Hakim Bey (Entimos Press / Abu Nuwas Society, 1993). With a scholarly biographical essay on Abu Nuwas, largely taken from Ewald Wagner's biographical entry in The Encyclopedia of Islam.
  • Carousing with Gazelles, Homoerotic Songs of Old Baghdad. Seventeen poems by Abu Nuwas translated by Jaafar Abu Tarab. (iUniverse, Inc., 2005).
  • Jim Colville. Poems of Wine and Revelry: The Khamriyyat of Abu Nuwas. (Kegan Paul, 2005).
  • The Khamriyyāt of Abū Nuwās: Medieval Bacchic Poetry, trans. by Fuad Matthew Caswell (Kibworth Beauchamp: Matador, 2015). Trans. from ‘Aṭwi 1986.

Further readingEdit

  • Kennedy, Philip F. (1997). The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry: Abu Nuwas and the Literary Tradition. Open University Press. ISBN 0-19-826392-9.
  • Kennedy, Philip F. (2005). Abu Nuwas: A Genius of Poetry. OneWorld Press. ISBN 1-85168-360-7.
  • Lacy, Norris J. (1989). "The Care and Feeding of Gazelles – Medieval Arabic and Hebrew love poetry". In Moshe Lazar (ed.). Poetics of Love in the Middle Ages. George Mason University Press. pp. 95–118. ISBN 0-913969-25-7.
  • Frye, Richard N. The Golden Age of Persia. p. 123. ISBN 0-06-492288-X.
  • Rowell, Alex (2017). Vintage Humour: The Islamic Wine Poetry of Abu Nawas. C Hurst & Co. ISBN 1849048975.

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Khallikān (Ibn) 1972, p. 546, II.
  2. ^ a b Garzanti
  3. ^ Nadīm (al-) 1970, pp. 352-3.
  4. ^ F. F. Arbuthnot, ''Arabic Authors: A Manual of Arabian History and Literature,'' W. Heinemann, London (1890), p. 81. ISBN 3847229052 (reprint). Books.google.com. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  5. ^ G. J. H. van Gelder, "mu‘ammā", in Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ed. by Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey, 2 vols (London: Routledge, 1998), II 534.
  6. ^ M. Bencheneb, "Lughz", in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edn, ed. by H. A. R. Gibb and others (Leiden: Brill, 1954-2009), s.v.
  7. ^ Al-Hayat, January 13, 2001
  8. ^ Middle East Report, 219 Summer 2001
  9. ^ Bearman, Peri (2009). "Global Arabic Encyclopedia". In Khanbaghi, Aptin (ed.). Encyclopedias about Muslim Civilisations. pp. 16–17.
  10. ^ Abu Nuwas (crater)
  11. ^ "The Father of Locks by Andrew Killeen : Our Books :: Dedalus Books, Publishers of Literary Fiction". Dedalusbooks.com. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  12. ^ al-Ṭayyib., Ṣāliḥ,; الطيب., صالح،. Season of migration to the north. Johnson-Davies, Denys., Lalami, Laila, 1968- ([Rev. ed.] ed.). New York. pp. 119-120. ISBN 9781590173022. OCLC 236338842.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  13. ^ Ibn Khallikan's biographical dictionary - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  14. ^ Abū Nuwās Street at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  15. ^ "DVIDS - News - A Walk in the Park". Dvidshub.net. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  16. ^ Pilcher, Tim and Brad Brooks. (Foreword: Dave Gibbons). The Essential Guide to World Comics. Collins and Brown. 2005. 297.
  17. ^ Gado (Author). "Abunuwasi (Swahili Edition) (9789966960900): Gado: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-20.

External linksEdit