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On books and poems: Poetic exchanges in hebrew poetry in Al-Andalus

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Chapter Summary

Among the Jewish elite in al-Andalus, the art of poetry was a social phenomenon that crossed the borders of the purely literary. Writing was an inseparable expression of a way of life and, sometimes, a way of cultivating friendship. This relationship between friends reached a particular intensity in epistolary compositions. This chapter offers a general presentation of this group of poems and analyzes two very exceptional episodes. In the first, Moshe ibn Ezra asks Yosef ibn Sahl's opinion on one of his poems. In the second, Ezra writes to Yiṣḥaq ibn Barun in order to request his book on comparative grammar.

Keywords: al-Andalus; Hebrew poetry; Moshe ibn Ezra; poetic exchanges; Yiṣḥaq ibn Barun; Yosef ibn Sahl



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