The Life and Times of Abū Tammām
Gründler, Beatrice, al-Ṣūlī, Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā – 2018
In The Life and Times of Abu Tammam, translated into English for the first time, the courtier and scholar Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Suli (d. 335 or 336/946 or 947) mounts a robust defense of “modern” poetry and of Abu Tammam’s significance as a poet against his detractors, while painting a lively picture of literary life in Baghdad and Samarra. Born into an illustrious family of Turkish origin, al-Suli was a courtier, companion, and tutor to the Abbasid caliphs. He wrote extensively on caliphal history and poetry and, as a scholar of “modern” poets, made a lasting contribution to the field of Arabic literary history. Like the poet it promotes, al-Suli’s text is groundbreaking: it represents a major step in the development of Arabic poetics, and inaugurates a long line of treatises on innovation in poetry.