Reviews

This substantial paper deals with Arabic-language belles-lettres in Bukhara, Chach (present-day Tashkent) and Khwarezm under the Samanids and their immediate successors.  Based on scanty biographical and textual data from classical repertories (tadhkiras) of poets and rhyming-prose (saj‘) maqama writers—Yaqut’s Mu‘jam al-udaba, Tha‘alibi’s Yatimat al-dahr fi mahasin ahl al-‘asr, ‘Abd al-Karim Sam‘ani’s al-Ansab—and on modern works by Arab scholars (e.g., Hind Husayn Taha’s al-Adab al-‘arabi fi iqlimi Khwarazm [Arabic Didactical Literature in Khwarezm], Baghdad, 1976) and Uzbekistani researchers (e.g., I. Abdullaev’s classical Bukhoroning arabiinavis shoirlar [The Arabic-Writing Poets of Bukhara], Tashkent, 1965, or more recently Nosir Muhammad’s Nasaf va Kesh allomalari [The Scholars of Nasaf and Kesh], Tashkent, 2001), the paper first evokes the contributions (especially to the development of the maqama genre) by leading intellectual figures of the time like Farabi, Biruni, Ibn Sina, and Zamakhshari.  The author then differentiates autochthonous poets (like Abu Ibrahim Shashi ‘Rayda’ of Chach, Abu Qasim Yahya of Bukhara, Abu Nasr Isma‘il Jawhari of Farab. . .) from those coming from other areas (‘Arabs’ like Abu Dulaf ‘Muhalhal’, Abu’l-Hasan ‘Lahham’, Abu’l-Hasan al-Shaybani, and Abu Talib al-Ma‘muni, or ‘Persians’ like Abu Nasr Abiwardi, Abu’l-Qasim Dinawari, Abu ‘Ali Sallami, Abu Ishaq Farisi, Abu Nasr Huzaymi, Ibn Abu Siyyab . . .).  Special attention is given to literary bilingualism and to the early tradition of mutual translation between Persian and Arabic languages (already stressed by E. E. Bertel’s in his classical work on Persian poetry in tenth-century Bukhara, and by Abdulghani Mirzoev in his reference monograph on Rudaki).  The dominance of qasida and satire (hajw), and the still relatively weak genre differentiation are linked by the author with the poets’ reliance on commands emanating from court milieus, and with the ensuing coterie rivalries, whence the thematic variety is seen as a sign of aesthetic rivalry with the court poets of the Caliphate’s capital.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-6.3.D-608