‘Ultra-Monorhyme’: A Stylistic Eccentricity in Comparative Perspective

Denis E. McAuley

in Ibn `Arabī’s Mystical Poetics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659548
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743375 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

‘Ultra-Monorhyme’: A Stylistic Eccentricity in Comparative Perspective

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This chapter begins with a close reading of a poem in what is described as ‘ultra-monorhyme,’ in which every verse ends with the same word, Allāhu. The poem is a dense meditation on how God permeates the world. From a stylistic point of view, that device helps to hold together a winding argument by bringing each verse literally back to God. The second part of the chapter traces the history of ultra-monorhyme, which emerges as a marginal form in devotional Arabic literature from the ascetic poet Abū l-`Atāhiya in the ninth century to the Algerian Aḥmad ibn `Alawī and the Omani Abū Muslim al-Bahlānī in the early twentieth. Lastly, a comparison is made with the medieval European sestina as practised by Arnaut Daniel and Dante.

Keywords: Ibn `Arabī; Dīwān; monorhyme; ascetic; Abū l-`Atāhiya; Aḥmad ibn `Alawī; Al-Bahlānī; sestina; Arnaut Daniel; Dante

Chapter.  8875 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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