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The great body of Arabic literature includes works by Arabic speaking Turks, Persians, Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Jews, and other Africans and Asians, as well as the Arabs themselves. The first significant Arabic literature was produced during the medieval golden age of lyric poetry, from the 4th to the 7th cent. The poems are strongly personal qasida, or odes, often very short, with some longer than 100 lines. They treat the life of the tribe and themes of love, fighting, courage, and the chase. The poet speaks directly, not romantically, of nature and the power of God. The qasida survive only through collections, chiefly the Muallaqat Muallaqat , Pre-Islamic Arabic anthology compiled by the scholar Hammad al Rawiya (d. c.775). comprised of poems that were written in gold letters and hung on the walls of the Kaaba in Mecca during annual fairs. Hamasa Hamasa [Arab.,=valor], one of the great anthologies of Arabic literature. It was gathered together in the 9th cent. by Abu Tammam when he was snowbound in Hamadan, where he had access to an excellent library. There are 10 books of poems, classified by subject. Mufaddaliyat Mufaddaliyat or Mofaddaliyat , great Arabic anthology compiled by the celebrated philologist Al Mufaddal ad-Dabbi (d. c.775). It contains 126 poems, some complete odes, others fragmentary. ..... Click the link for more information. , and Kitab al-Aghani Kitab al-Aghani [Arab.,=book of songs], collection of poems in many volumes compiled by Abu al-Faraj Ali of Esfahan. It contains poems from the oldest epoch of Arabic literature down to the 9th cent. ..... Click the link for more information. . The most esteemed of these poets are Amru al-Kais Amru al-Kais , fl. 6th cent., Arabic poet. His verse, like much of the poetry of the pre-Islamic period, is intensely subjective and stylistically perfect. He was esteemed by Arabs as the great model for erotic poetry. ..... Click the link for more information. , Antara Antara , fl. 600, Arab warrior and poet, celebrated in his own day as a hero because he rose from slave birth to be a tribal chief. His poetry is represented by one poem in the Muallaqat. ..... Click the link for more information. , and Zuhair Zuhair , fl. 6th cent., Arab poet. Zuhair is often considered the greatest writer of Arabic poetry in pre-Islamic times. His work is represented in the Muallaqat. Zuhair's poems deal with raids and other subjects of nomadic desert life. ..... Click the link for more information. . With the advent of Islam, the Qur'an Qur'an or Koran [Arab.,=reading, recitation], the sacred book of Islam. Revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad in separate revelations over the major portion of the Prophet's
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life at Mecca and at Medina, the Qur'an was intended as a recited ..... Click the link for more information. became the central work of study and recitation. Extra-Qur'anic poetry underwent a decline from which it recovered in a far different form. The Qur'an supplanted poetry by becoming the chief object of study of the Muslim world. Poetry regained some prestige under the Umayyads, when al-Akhtal (c.640–c.710) and al-Farazdaq (c.640–732) wrote their lyric works. Under the Abbasids (750–1258), Hellenic, Syrian, Pahlavi, and Sanskrit works became available in translation, and the Arabic language further developed as a vehicle of science and philosophy. Among the pioneers of Arabic prose were Ibn al-Muqaffa, the translator of the Indian fables of Kalila wa Dimna, and al-Jahiz (d. 868), an influential figure in the establishment of the belles-lettres compendia (adab) as a dominant literary theme.
the name of a literary genre that was much affected at this time. Tunis. Arab freethinking poet.. he lived a courtier's life. Brilliantly original. Muhammad ibn Ismail. The major writers of historical and geographical works in Arabic include Bukhari Bukhari.1325) he made a series of journeys recorded in a dictated account. Mutanabbi (915–65) wrote some of the most complex..923....810. Sri Lanka... b. .. Arab writer of Basra. and science were cultivated.. Asceticism. b.. The name Tabari was given him because he was born in Tabaristan. Ahvaz. and the collections of early Arabic poetry were compiled during this period. b.The next great period of Arabic literature was a result of the rise of the new Arabic-Persian culture of Baghdad.. he became one of the literary reformers who discarded classicism for a modern . .. Click the link for more information. the traditional sayings of the Prophet. . Arabic poems. the new capital of the Abbasids. which became the principal literary form. Islamic theologian. . 1054–1122. Persia. Click the link for more information.. Click the link for more information. geographer.... .839– c. Masudi Masudi. . S of Aleppo. . c. Click the link for more information. considered as an entity to be among the classics of world literature. . . Baghdad.. of Persian origin. His principal work is one of the most popular of Arabic books. sought to combine "refinement with dignity of style. 1058– 1111. Tangier.. Qur'anic interpretation and criticism.. b.. Click the link for more information.. .. Arab historian. d.. Muslim traveler. He was born at Tus in Khorasan. Arabic scholar. Ibn al-Athir (d. High in favor with the caliphs Harun ar-Rashid and Amin. al. . and China and spent his last years in Syria and Egypt. and philosopher.. 956. Arab historian. evolved into a poetic genre with Abu al-Atahiya. Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun . 973–1057. The influence of India and Persia is seen in Arabic prose romance.750–c.(c. 1304?–1378?. Bukhara. Among the most popular of Arabic poets.810–70). Tabari Tabari (Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari) . The foremost Arab theologian was al-Ghazali Ghazali. Arab poet. al.. Persia. .. Click the link for more information. . He was blind from childhood. . and most eloquent. mathematics.. India. He was born and lived most of his life in Maarrah. Click the link for more information." Abu al-Ala al-Maarri Abu al-Ala al-Maarri . He is considered the greatest theologian in Islam. and brilliancies with jewels of eloquence. Abd al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn . c. was an outstanding Syrian poet of great originality.. At the end of the 8th cent... not yet developed into Sufism. series of anonymous stories in Arabic. . He held various offices under the rulers of Tunis and Morocco and served (1363) as ambassador of the Moorish king of Granada to Peter the Cruel of Castile. Click the link for more information. 1234). He traveled widely in Syria and Egypt. law. his exquisite lyric poetry celebrated wine and the extravagance of this life. Click the link for more information. ... b. The greatest mystic poet of the age was Omar Ibn al-Faridh (1181–1235).. philosopher. The poet Hariri Hariri (Abu Muhammad al-Kasim al-Hariri) . in Baghdad a group of young poets arose who established a new court poetry. In 30 years (from c. A prominent court poet was Abu Nuwas Abu Nuwas . No other medieval traveler is known to have journeyed so extensively. He traveled in Spain. and mystic. and Ibn Batuta Ibn Batuta .. Russia. 1332–1406. It is called Makamat [literary assemblies].. The greatest collection is the Thousand and One Nights Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights. Arab historian and commentator. He spent most of his life in Baghdad. history. in the 8th and 9th cent. setting finally in Baghdad. Philosophy... He traveled widely over Muslim regions and made an authoritative collection of the hadith.
. Simultaneously with a reaction against Western models in Arabic literature. of Persian origin.. .. 980–1037. 889). .... After his graduation (1934) from Cairo Univ. Newspapers. see Leyli o Majnun (1936 film). essays and epistles of great wit and erudition. 1138. During the 19th cent... Badr Shakir as-Sayyab.. the novel and the drama. Barwa... 1126–98. Egyptian novelist and short-story writer.. the great physician. Arabic Ibn Bajja. . pen name of Ali Ahmad Said.. Click the link for more information.. Naguib .. . . Spanish-Arab philosopher. Abdelrahman Munif.. and books were published in which Arab writers tried to express. 757). Click the link for more information. The Western center of Arab culture was Spain. were composed on subjects as diverse as science. For the film.. . Averroës Averroës .. 1185/86?. 1930–. For the opera. Hayy ibn Yaqzan. Palestine (now in Israel). near Granada.. Click the link for more information. Their works became known in Europe chiefly through the Latin translations of Jewish scholars.. d.. Click the link for more information. developed. known as risalas. Spanish-Arab philosopher. and Ibn Tufayl Ibn Tufayl . The Spanish Arabs produced fine poets and scholars. especially Córdoba under the Umayyads. In the field of belles-lettres. Sonallah Ibrahim.. wrote on medicine. . . . Little is known of his life. b. Click the link for more information. and Damascus. His chief work was a philosophical romance. Notable 20thcentury–early 21st-century writers in Arabic include the novelists Naguib Mahfouz Mahfouz. Islamic philosopher and physician. in Arabic. and Ibn Qutayba (d. encyclopedias. who were displaced when soldiers from the newly formed state of Israel occupied (and later .. Nazik al-Malaikah. Arabic Ibn Rushd. he worked in various government ministries until his retirement in 1971. forms never before used. Click the link for more information. . and Adonis Adonis or Adunis. 1911– 2006. . widely considered the Palestinian national poet. He was the most renowned philosopher of medieval Islam and the most influential name in medicine from 1100 to 1500. He was far more important and influential in Jewish and Christian thought than in Islam. but he was born in Zaragoza and died in Fès. 12th-century Spanish-Arab philosopher and physician. but they are less important than the great Spanish philosophers—Avempace Avempace . Morocco... printing in Arabic began in earnest. and politics. their sense of themselves and their place in the modern world. Cairo. the unsurpassed alJahiz.. generally considered the Arab world's greatest living poet. Mahmoud. near Bukhara. Syrian poet and essayist.. Since 1200 in Spain and 1300 in the East. . Chief practitioners of the genre include Ibn al-Muqaffa (d.. there has been little Arabic literature of wide interest. b. Avicenna Avicenna . Beirut. Click the link for more information. see Layla and Majnun (opera). The central Asian scholar al-Faralsi. ... and the short-story writers Mahmud Tymur and Yusuf Idris works of Arabian Literature This article is about the folk story... b. Arabic Ibn Sina.. centered in Cairo. He was born to middle-class Sunni Muslim farmers. the poets Hafiz Ibrahim. 1941–... wrote fundamental works on philosophical and musical theory. the playwrights Ahmad Shawqi and Tawfiq al-Hakim. He began writing poetry in the 1950s. mysticism. Abdul Wahab al-Bayati. d. . winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature. Click the link for more information. and Yahya Hakki. b. Mahmoud Darwish Darwish. .
Layla and Majnun. Leyli və Məcnun in Azeri. also known as The Madman and Layla – in Arabic ( مجنون و ليلىMajnun and Layla) or قيس ( وليلىQays and Layla). to name only the most important ones. and Layla's family arranged for her to marry another man . for that reason he came to be called Majnun (Arabic: )مجنونmeaning "madman. it was the Persian masterpiece of Nezami Ganjavi that popularized it dramatically in Persian literature. in Persian: ( لیلی و مجنونLeyli o Majnun). Late 16th century illustration. followed by 51 versions of Ḵosrow o Širin. According to Vahid Dastgerdi. also known as The Madman of Layla . Although the story was somewhat popular in Persian literature in the 12th century. ( لیل مجنوlailā majanū) in Urdu – is a classical Arabic story. Indians. Both have fainted and Majnun's elderly messenger attempts to revive Layla while wild animals protect the pair from unwelcome intruders. Ḥasan Ḏulfaqāri enumerates 59 ‘imitations’ (naẓira s) of Leyli o Majnun as the most popular romance in the Iranian world. many of them imitated him and wrote their own versions of the romance. description of time and setting. It is based on the real story of a young man called Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (Arabic: )قيس بن الملوحfrom Najd (the northern Arabian Peninsula) during the Umayyad era in the 7th century. Nezami collected both secular and mystical sources about Majnun and portrayed a vivid picture of the famous lovers . they could not see each other due to a family feud. In his statistical survey of famous Persian romances. In both versions. The story of Leylie o Majnoon was known in Persian at least from the time of Rudaki and Baba Taher who mentions the lovers. even if they could not equal and certainly not surpass it. The Persian scholar Hekmat has listed not less than forty Persians and thirteen Turkish versions of Layli and Majnun.inArabic ىلي نوجم (Majnun-Layla) or ىلي ( سيقQays and Layla). Layla and Majnun. such as "the portrayal of characters..". inPersian: نو جمیلي (Leyli and . Subsequently. Persians. one would probably find more than 1000 versions of Layli and Majnun. etc. Nezami uses various characteristics deriving from 'Udhrite love poetry and weaves them into his own Persian culture. Rudolf Gelpke: Many later poets have imitated Nizami's work. 22 variants of Yusof o Zuleikha and 16 versions of Vāmeq oʿAḏrāʾ. Nizami portrayed such a vivid picture of this legendary lover that all subsequent poets were inspired by him. In another version." History and influence Persian Adaptation and Persian literature Majnun in the wilderness From Arab and Habib folklore the story was absorbed and embellished by Persian. the young lovers become acquainted at school and fell desperately in love. Turks. In one version. Leyla ile Mecnun in Turkish. he spent his youth together with Layla. He Persianised the poem by adding techniques borrowed from the Persian epic tradition. According to Dr. the relationship between characters. however. tending their flocks. By collecting information from both secular and mystical sources about Majnun. he went mad when her father prevented him from marrying her. In his adaptation. However. many other Persian poets imitated him and wrote their own versions of the romance.A scene from Nezami's adaptation of the story. Layla and Majnun meet for the last time before their deaths. upon seeing Layla he fell passionately in love with her. If one would search all existing libraries.
However. Layla married another man. he spent his youth together with his cousin.Madjnun) and Leyla ile Mecnun (Layla and Majnun) inTu r k i sh . In the other version. they could not see each other due to a family feud. It is based on the real story of a young man called Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (Arabic : حول ا ) ب سيقfrom the northernArabian Peninsula. in the Umayyad era during the 7th century. When Qays heard of her marriage. He fell in love with Layla bint Mahdi ibn Sa’d from the same tribe. In one version. To him were attributed a variety of incredibly passionate romantic Arabic poems. He could sometimes be seen reciting poetry to himself or writing in the sand with a stick. and in 12th century. In his adaptation. He had carved three verses of poetry on a rock near the grave. which are the last three verses attributed to him. mentioning her name often. Many other minor incidents happened between his madness and his death. In both versions. the walls of Layla And I kiss this wall and that wall It’s not Love of the houses that has taken my heart But of the One who dwells in those houses ” History and influence FromArab and Habib folklore the story passed into Persian literature. regarding Layla: “I pass by these walls. When he asked for her hand in marriage her father refused as this would mean a scandal for Layla according to Arab traditions. he went mad when her father prevented him from marrying her. considered among the foremost examples of theUdhari school. Among the poems attributed to Qays ibn al-Mulawwah. Layla. Qays was later found dead in the wilderness in 688 A. was from the Bani Aam ir Tribe of Arabia. better known as Layla Al-Aamiriya. he fled the tribe camp and began wandering the surrounding desert. for that reason he came to be called Majnun Layla.Nizam i wrote a famous adaptation of Layla and Majnun in Persian. There were two Arabic versions of the story at the time. upon seeing Layla he fell passionately in love with her. Soon after. where she became ill and eventually died. His family eventually gave up on his return and left food for him in the wilderness. which means "Driven mad by Layla". however. Most of his recorded poetry was composed before his descent into madness. near an unknown woman’s grave. tending their flocks. and Layla's family arranged for her to marry another man.is a classical Middle Eastern love story.D. a Bedouin poet. It is a tragic story . Layla moved toIraq with her husband. He soon began creating poems about his love for her. the young lovers become acquainted at school and fell desperately in love. Story Qays ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim.
The Azerbaijani Turkish adaptation of the story. However. because the lovers never married or made love. the Seven Valleys. It premiered inBaku on January 25. whenAhme d Shawqi wrote a poetic play about the tragedy. This type of love is known in Arabic culture as "Virgin Love" (Arabic: رذع).' said he.1908. now considered one of the best in modern Arab poetry. Giafar. notably in the Muslim literature of South Asia. who used the material to create what became the Middle East's first opera. such as Urdu ghazals. The caliph. The literary motif itself is common throughout the world." In addition to this creative use of language. we will discharge them.ادThe Epic of Layla and Majnun") was written in the 16th century byFu zûlî. inspiring a Turkish colloquialism: to "feel like Layla" is to feel completely dazed. 'I wish. in whose literature the name Layla refers to their concept of the Beloved. Ukabilu tha alijidar wathal jidara. Qays's lines from the play are sometimes confused with his actual poems. and to ascertain in what esteem my officers of justice are held. Other famous Virgin Love stories are the stories of "Qays and Lubna". "Marwa and Al Majnoun Al Faransi" and "Antara and Abla".of undying love much like the later Romeo and Juliet. wala kinna khubba man sakana dhiyar The three apple "SIR. If. Fuzûlî's version was borrowed by the renownedAzerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov. there be any who are praised.' "The grand vizier repaired to the palace at the appointed time. In thePe rsian andArabic languages. wamakhubbu dhiyar shaghafnaa kalbi. we will reward them according to their deserts. "the Caliph Haroun Alraschid one day desired his grand vizier Giafar to be with him on the following morning. Etymologically. Layla is related to the Hebrewand Arabicw ords for "night. 'to visit all parts of the city. Dâstân-ı Leylî vü Mecnûn ( نو جمىلي نت" . especiallySufi writers. The story had previously been brought to the stage in the late 19th century. The original story is featured inBahá'u'lláh's Sufi writings. on the contrary. which was itself said to have been inspired by aLatin version of Layla and Majnun to an extent. the tale has also made at least one linguistic contribution. Ammuru ala dhiyar dhiyar laila." and is thought to mean "one who works by night. and Mesrour the chief of . the word Majnun means "crazy. Shakespearean scholars deny any such influence. "Kuthair and Azza". The enduring popularity of the legend has influenced Middle Eastern literature. If there be any of whom just complaints are Bade." said Scheherazade. as might be expected of a person who is literally madly in love." This is an apparent allusion to the fact that the romance of the star-crossed lovers was hidden and kept secret. and put others in their places who will give greater satisfaction.
anxious to know what it could contain. and has now in all probability fled from the city?' "He ordered the officers of police and justice who were under his command to make strict search for the criminal. and yet I have a wife and young children.' "The caliph. "They arrived on the banks of the river. On opening the chest. and Mesrour.' replied the grand vizier.' 'Commander of the Faithful. and set out together. The caliph immediately ordered the vizier to count out a hundred sequins to the fisherman. "They passed through several squares and many marketplaces. and of tall stature. to discover a murderer.' 'I give you three days. whiter than snow. and forgetting all the troubles of the past day. and the vizier concluded that. a man with a white beard. but the poorest and most miserable of my trade. The caliph's astonishment at this dismal spectacle cannot be described.' The fisherman. let us question him concerning his lot. that they might not be known. who no doubt has committed this crime secretly and alone. They sent out their underlings.the eunuchs. Mesrour took the chest on his shoulders by order of his master. and from that time till now I have caught nothing. The fisherman cast his nets. 'I entreat your majesty to grant me time to make proper investigation. I swear that I will have you hanged. they cut the worsted with a knife.' "The vizier Giafar returned home in the greatest distress. 'how is it possible. and. and drew out of the basket a parcel wrapped in a piece of old carpet. taking the caliph at his word. and as they came into a small street they perceived. that they may rise in vengeance against me on the day of judgment! If you do not speedily revenge the death of this woman by the execution of her murderer. and drew out a chest. ‘what art thou?' ' My lord.' said the vizier. and summoned him to . "On the third day. but his surprise was quickly changed to anger. they could discover no traces that might lead to the murderer's capture.' replied the old man. in company with him. 'To judge by this old man's appearance.' returned the caliph. closely shut and very heavy. The cord was soon untied and the packet undone. and tied with cord. 'Alas! ' thought he. in so large and vast a city as Bagdad. and cast thy nets once more? We will give thee an hundred sequins for what thou bringest up. the body of a young lady. touched with compassion. who. casting a furious look at the vizier. Giafar. returned immediately to the palace. I went out at noon to go and fish. his death was inevitable.' 'Good man. he cried: 'Wretch! is this the way you inspect the actions of my people? Murder is committed with impunity under your administration. returned towards the Tigris. to their horror. He had on his arm a basket made of palm-leaves. carrying nets on his head. whom he then dismissed. by the light of the moon. disguised themselves. they found a large basket made of palm-leaves. But all their diligence was fruitless.' said the caliph. an officer of the sultan came to the house of the unhappy minister. with forty of your relations. 'I should not suppose him rich. and exerted themselves personally in this affair. 'look to it. said to the fisherman: 'Wilt thou return. 'I am a fisherman. To satisfy the impatience of the caliph. unless Heaven interposed in his favour. and in his hand a stick. but have nothing wherewith to feed them. and cut into pieces. the upper part sewn together with a bit of red worsted. and then they saw. and my subjects are thrown into the Tigris.
with the permission of the commanding officer of justice. as for me. indicated nobility of soul. but throughout the whole empire of the caliph. "Everything was ready for the execution of the caliph's cruel order. let me sacrifice my life to save yours. when a young man. for the vizier Giafar and his relations the Barmecides were much loved for their probity and liberality. who was happy to have an opportunity of obliging him. He kissed Giafar's hand. whose countenance. chief of the emirs of this court. let me expiate the death of the lady who was thrown into the Tigris. sentence me to death. and you wish to anticipate your destiny. The vizier obeyed. in all the quarters of the city. and then spoke these words: ‘Commander of the Faithful. far from expressing guilt. "When everything was ready.' interrupted the young man.' "Although this speech created great joy in the vizier. a public crier was ordered by the caliph to proclaim. In the name of God I conjure you not to confound the innocent with the guilty. I alone am the person that killed the lady. and a cord was fastened round the neck of each of the prisoners. was to repair to the square before the palace.' The caliph reproached Giafar in the bitterest words. that whoever wished to have the satisfaction of seeing the execution of the grand vizier Giafar. pressed through the crowd till he reached the grand vizier.' "The contest between the old man and the youth obliged the vizier to bring them before the caliph. and let justice be done. "Whilst the executioners were preparing the gibbets. and exclaimed: ‘Sovereign vizier. and commanded that he should be hanged before the gates of the palace. the judge placed the grand vizier and the forty Barmecides each under the gibbet that was destined for him. and that no person in the world is my accomplice. addressing the vizier. not only at Bagdad. with tears in his eyes: 'O Commander of the Faithful. and then thrown her into the Tigris. I have lived for a long time in this world.' resumed the old man. and the next moment would have seen the death of some of the worthiest inhabitants of the city. I am her murderer: I alone ought to be punished. together with forty of the Barmecides. and said to the vizier: 'My lord.' ' Alas! my son. and forty of his family.' 'O my master. The people who crowded the square could not behold such a spectacle without feeling pity and shedding tears. addressing himself to the vizier. and well dressed. who had also pushed through the crowd.' continued he.I am the criminal. he kissed the ground seven times. came up. do not believe what this young man says to you. the Barmecides. I alone am worthy of punishment. each of whom accuses himself as the murderer of the lady. the refuge of the poor! you are not guilty of the crime for which you are going to suffer.his master. he nevertheless felt pity for a youth. he replied.' The caliph then asked the two men which of them had murdered the lady in so cruel a manner. The youth assured him that he had committed the deed. 'I repeat it . "When he came into the presence of the sovereign. ‘despair has led you hither. I have found no one who could give me any intelligence concerning him. and when the caliph demanded of him the murderer. . and the officers went to seize the forty Barmecides at their different houses. when a tall man of advanced age. ‘I assure you that it was I who committed this wicked action. He was going to reply. My lord. I bring to you this old man and this youth. of comely appearance.
' 'Then I command thee to relate it. 'if one only is guilty. that it is I who killed the lady.the old man maintained that the crime was his. Therefore. Obedient to the order the young man began his story in these words:BEAUTY AND SADNESS He drew hundreds of women in studies unfoldinglike flowers from a fan. their heavy brocaded hair was piled high with sandalwood combs and blossom sprigs . who cut her in pieces. actresses. as the old man made no reply. nimble man whose invisible presence one feels in these prints is as delicate as the skinlike paper he used to transfer and retain their fleeting loveliness.' replied the vizier.' The caliph was surprised at this solemn oath. Commander of the Faithful. erect and tall. it would form a history which might be serviceable to mankind.' ‘But. Crouching like cats. he exclaimed: 'Unhappy wretch! for what reason hast thou committed this detestable crime?' 'Commander of the Faithful. turning to the youth. geishas.' "At these words the young man cried out: 'I swear by the great God who has built up the heavens to where they now are.' said the caliph to the vizier. They arranged themselves before this quick. 'give orders that both of them be hanged. they purred amid the layers of kimono swirling around them as though they were bathing in a mountain pool with irises growing in the silken sunlit water. Or poised like porcelain vases.' returned the young man. courtesans and maids. slender. and then threw her into the Tigris four days since. 'Go. Teahouse waitresses.' said the caliph. I am the person who is to be punished. it would be unjust to execute the other. 'if all that has passed between this lady and myself could be written. which he was inclined to believe.
At times. indifferent to his inconsolable eye. Utamaro absorbed these women of Edo in their moments of melancholy as well as of beauty. the moments in between. Utamaro graced these women with immortality in the thousand sheaves of prints fluttering into the reverent hands of keepers: the dwarfed and bespectacled painter holding up to a square of sunlight what he had carried home beneath his coat one afternoon in winter. creatures from a floating world.draped body emerging from a bath. the half. They resembled beautiful iridescent insects. Portraying another girl catching a glimpse of her own vulnerable face in the mirror. .A private space disclosed.poking out like antennae. maintaining stillness. the women drifted through the soft gray feathered light. He captured the wisp of shadows. whatever skin was exposed was powdered white as snow. he transposed the trembling plum lips like a drop of blood soaking up the white expanse of paper. Like the dusty ash-winged moths that cling to the screens in summer and that the Japanese venerate as ancestors reincarnated.