From Expulsion to Readmission: Ibn ʾAbī Ḥafṣa’s Rhetorical Technique at the ʿAbbāsid Court
At the ʿAbbāsid court, the caliph was in need of a poet who could project an image of himself as the legitimate Muslim ruler. Poets, on the other hand, were in need of a caliph who could bestow gifts upon them in return for their panegyrics. However, this caliph-poet relationship was extremely sensitive to shifts and shocks in politics and poetics that could render the poet a persona non grata at court. Relying primarily on Suzanne STETKEVYCH’s formulation of the complex relationship between poet and patron in classical Arabic history, this paper will analyze the rhetorical techniques that poets who had been rejected by the caliphate court later employed in their efforts to (re)gain their position. Ṭaraqatka zāʼiratan (“She Came to You in a Dream, Out of the Blue, as a Visitor”) by Marwān b. ʾAbī Ḥafṣa (d. 798 C.E.), will serve as a model of successful rhetorical technique. This analysis will reveal how Ibn ʾAbī Ḥafṣa’s panegyric ode, in its structure, language and imagery, was able to obtain for the poet not only reentry into the caliphate court but also a lavish reward from the caliph.
Keywords: Literature, Allusion, Panegyric, Ibn ʾAbī Ḥafṣa, Legitimacy, ʿAbbāsid Caliphate
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