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Literature and literary people at the court of Al-S[dotbelow]ah[dotbelow]ib Ibn 'AbbadErez Naaman
Courts were the most important frameworks for the production, performance, and evaluation of literature in medieval Islamic civilization. The availability of financial support and interest on the part of patrons vying for prestige attracted literary people (poets and prose writers) to their courts; it was there where literary activity took shape according to specific rules and conventions. The dominantly Arabophone court of the vizier and literary person al-S[dotbelow]ah[dotbelow]ib Ibn 'Abbad (326-385/938-995) in Is[dotbelow]bahan, al-Rayy, and Jurjan, stands out as one of the most remarkable examples for a medieval Islamic court with an intensive, flourishing, and sophisticated literary activity. The main goal of this dissertation is to shed light on the literary activity at the court of al-S[dotbelow]ah[dotbelow]ib in which the patron, protégés, and production were involved, and expose its functional logic. The rich surviving evidence serves us well in probing key questions regarding this activity: the patterns of patronage, genres as productive molds, the hegemonic literary taste, and the courtly habitus. The analysis of the evidence demonstrates that as a whole the effect of al-S[dotbelow]ah[dotbelow]ib as a patron on the literary activity was very strong. As the source of power, al-S[dotbelow]ah[dotbelow]ib took advantage of his privileges to make his literary taste the hegemonic one in the literary field of the court, and more generally, his vision of the court and the courtier the one in effect. These configured aesthetic and behavioral components were ingrained in the habitus (a concept known and used at this environment) of this court. The acquisition of this habitus enabling one to function "correctly" at it was the sine qua non for any literary person seeking success.
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Court culture; Literary production; Medieval Arabic literature; Habitus; Sahib al-Talqani, Abu al-Qasim Isma`il ibn `Abbad; Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, `Ali ibn Muhammad; Middle Eastern literature; Middle Eastern Studies; Medieval history; 0555:Middle Eastern Studies; 0581:Medieval history; 0315:Middle Eastern literature
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