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Ars Poetica in medieval hebrew secular poetry: Same symptoms, different diagnosis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the ars-poetic status of Hebrew secular poems written during the "Golden Age" in medieval Spain. The term ars poetica is habitually used to refer to poetry about the art of poetry, to poetry as reflected by itself, or, in short, to poetry about poetry. Medieval secular Hebrew poetry contains many statements about poetry and the art of writing it; often it deals with the triangle of poet-composition-audience and the mutual relations among its components. The chapter argues that medieval Hebrew self-focused poems possess certain additional features that distinguish them from other poems whose ars-poetic nature is indisputable. It suggests that medieval ars poetica is not ars poetica in the usual sense of its expression, and that the reasons for this go beyond differences due to historical and/or cultural dimensions. The chapter also argues that medieval poems about poetry cannot always be classified as sheer ars poetica.

Keywords: ars poetica; Medieval secular Hebrew poetry; Spain



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