Abu Al-Atahiya

Abu Al-Atahiya


(pseudonym of Abu-Ishak Ismail ibn-al-Kasim). Born 748 in Kufa; died 825 in Baghdad. Arab poet.

Born into the family of a physician, Abu al-Atahiya was a potter in his youth. His early poetry, which mocks the rich and ridicules scholasticism, made him popular among the poorest elements of Baghdad. He was noted for anacreontic and love lyrics, fragments of which have been preserved. His later ascetic poetry (zuhdayat) showed him to be the first representative of the philosophic trend in Arab poetry and a forerunner of Abu al-ala al-Maarri. The simplicity of his language contributed to the success of his poetry.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. Poeticheskoe tvorchestvo Abu-l’-Atakhii, Izbr. soch., vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
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But I would point to the beautiful French translations of Andre Miquel, who has given us versions of Majnun (lover of Layla), Abu al-Atahiya, Abu Firas, and Ibn Zaydun.

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