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Al-Jāḥiẓ On ʿAbbāsid Caliphs and People in Basra

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Chapter Summary

Even though most of the writings of the great Arabic prose-writer al-Jāḥiẓ (d. 255-868 or 869) are lost, many have been preserved. The most comprehensive list of these writings was compiled by Charles Pellat in 1984. Among the as yet unedited material are biographic descriptions of ʿAbbāsid Caliphs. The biographies are characterized by subtle descriptions and references to psychological motives, which is typical of al-Jāḥiẓ. The descriptions of people in Basra also vary in length. They seem to be remnants of the Kitāb akhlāq al-wuzarāʾ. This chapter presents some passages that were most probably written by al- al-Jāḥiẓ. They may very well be remnants of the lost Kitāb imāmat Banī ’l-ʿAbbās and the Kitāb akhlāq al-wuzarāʾ, but one might also be dealing with versions of al-Jāḥiẓ's writings which the author did not intend for publication.

Keywords: ʿAbbāsid Caliphs; al-Jāḥiẓ; Basra; Charles Pellat; Kitāb akhlāq al-wuzarāʾ; Kitāb imāmat Banī ’l-ʿAbbās



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