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description Journal article public Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature

Nature as a Motif in Arabic Andalusian Poetry and English Romanticism

Ghassan Aburqayeq
Published 2020

Abstract

This paper examines some tenets in the Andalusian and Romantic poetry and shows how poets such as Ibrahim Ibn Khafāja (1058-1138) and William Wordsworth (1770 –1850) used nature as a motif in their poetry. Relying on a historical approach, this paper links smaller features such as themes and literary devices in the Andalusian and Romantic poetry with larger features, including genre, traditions, and cultural system. I argue that the emphasis on both the larger and smaller features of poetry creates what Franco Moretti calls “distant reading.” Comparing and contrasting Ibn Khafāja's “the Mountain” and Wordsworth's “the Daffodils,” for instance, introduces nature as a recurrent theme in both Andalusian and Romantic literary traditions, reinforcing Johann Wolfgang Goethe's description of poetry as a common possession of humanity” (Goethe 229). In addition to that, comparing the images and themes in both the Andalusian and Romantic poetry not only shows internally linked meanings, but it creates what Cesar Domínguez, et al, call “a space for polyglottism, multidisciplinarity, scholarly collaboration” (75). Reading these works and movements closely and distantly serves as a cross-cultural dialogue between the Arabic and English poetic conventions. While Ibn Khafāja and Wordsworth lived in different places and times, wrote in different languages, and did not have the same socio-political circumstances, their poems show the richness and multiplicity of the historical experience of world literature.

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