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Mulamma' In Islamic Literatures

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Chapter Summary

Mulammaʿ as a form of poetic composition is not discussed in the earliest Arabic literary critical writings. This chapter offers possible reasons for either the complete absence or limited discussion of this form by Arabic sources. It delineates two specific practices that simultaneously contributed to the partial mixing of languages whilst inhibiting the full-fledged practice of composing mixed-language or macaronic pieces. The history of ‘macaronic’ in Western literatures demonstrates that over the course of several centuries, its definition was extended to designate mixed-language compositions with or without the requirement of Latin as the source language. A similar phenomenon occurs in the context of the definition of ‘mulammaʿ’ within the Islamic literary traditions. It seems to have been amplified to accommodate poetic compositions in mixed-language with or without Arabic or Persian as a source language, even though the sources do not explicitly acknowledge the fact.

Keywords: Arabic literary critical writings; Islamic literary traditions; mixed-language compositions; Mulammaʿ; Western literatures



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