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Annales islamologiques 40
2006 IFAO
24 p.
gratuit - free of charge
Du rôle de la poésie dans les récits du Kitāb al-faraǧ baʿd al-šidda d’al-Tanūḫī.

This article deals with the situations in which verses of poetry occur and the functions that they fulfill within akhbâr texts in al-Tanûkhî’s (m. 384/994) Kitâb al-Faraj ba‘d al-shidda. In the first part, typical situations in which poetry is used are identified. As might be expected, poetic verses often occur when human interaction is taking place ; particularly when characters express their love and their anger. However, it not only occurs under such conditions but also when the writer seeks a pardon from the ruler. In some instances, poetry serves as solace and is even preferred to the Koran or to prayers in a mosque as the last refuge to which the protagonist resorts. Conversely, verses are rare in stories that have the Koran, the ḥadith, wild animals or illness as their main theme.

In the second part, this author identifies sixteen functions that poetry fulfills in Faraj (i.e. adab, inherent, personal, associative, structural, illustrative, analogical, summary, psychological, communicative, resumtive, poetic quiz function, explicative, nominative, corrective/ diversive and inter-/ intratextual). These sixteen functions comprise different levels of narrative/ literary analysis : surface level, plot level, intra- and intertextual level and generic level. A function may extend over several of these levels and a single poem may fulfill several functions at one time.

One of the most important functions for the Faraj in particular, is the structural function. It is divided into five subfunctions (on the plot level : conclusive or “de dénouement”, proleptic and analeptic ; on the surface level : initial and final). The conclusive subfunction is the most characteristic of the Faraj stories because the verses mark the point where the dramatic climax of the story is reached and the plot is brought to a conclusion.

The author holds that some of the functions identified in this work can be applied to a larger set of similar adab works. It has to be borne in mind, however, that al-Tanûkhî’s Faraj is a particular type of adab and that larger differences in the use of poems exist as far as other subgenres of adab are concerned.