This exhaustive and yet enthralling study considers the life and work of al-Mutanabbi (915-965), often regarded as the greatest of the classical Arab poets. A revolutionary at heart and often imprisoned or forced into exile throughout his tumultuous life, al-Mutanabbi wrote both controversial satires and when employed by one of his many patrons, laudatory panegyrics. Employing an ornate style and use of the ode, al-Mutanabbi was one of the first to successfully move away from the traditionally rigid form of Arabic verse, the ‘qasida’.
Margaret Larkin is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Berkeley University. Author of The Theology of Meaning: 'Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani's Theory of Discourse, she has also written numerous scholarly articles on both classical and modern Arabic literature.