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Love Poetry by Arab Women A Survey

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Poetry by Arab women has often been neglected to a point, that many thought of it as hardly playing any role at all in the Arabic literary heritage, an exception being pre-Islamic marātī. This contribution tries to assess the importance of medieval love poetry by women in relation to Bauers far reaching conclusions about male love poetry in his Liebe und Liebesdichtung, etc. and its outline of Arab medieval "Mentalitätsgeschichte".

The contribution that female love poetry offers to understand medieval Arab society is disappointing for two reasons:

1. It is very much inspired by the everyday, almost banal vicissitudes that come with love;

2. It hardly contains any wasf of the beloved, the means by which the poet(ess) might have been able to construct the necessary perspective to understand the emotional implications of love and passion and the intellectual reflection on it.

Affiliations: 1: Nijmegen University, Netherlands Flemish Insitute (Cairo)


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