Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Culture of Letter-Writing in Pre-Modern Islamic Society$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Adrian Gully

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633739

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633739.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Epistolary Prose, Poetry and Oratory: Essentials of the Debate

Epistolary Prose, Poetry and Oratory: Essentials of the Debate

(p.29) Chapter 2 Epistolary Prose, Poetry and Oratory: Essentials of the Debate
The Culture of Letter-Writing in Pre-Modern Islamic Society

Adrian Gully

Edinburgh University Press

The prominence of epistolography prose has remained because it was effectively guaranteed by a debate that attempted to justify the superiority of prose over poetry, and to a lesser extent, prose over oratory. The popularity of epistolography prose was also sustained by the very fact that the secretary controlled the literary climate to which the epistolary genre belonged, and exploited that situation to emphasise that his pen was also his sword. This chapter aims to determine why and how letter-writing come to prominence as the most important form of artistic prose communication, and how it remained the most popular form of writing for many centuries. It discusses the complex relationship between poetry, oratory and prose in Arabic literature as it is presented by the pre-modern literary critics, and illustrates how some of them argued that epistolary prose was the supreme literary art form. The discussion is balanced by brief evaluation of those writers who attempted to assert the authority of poetry over prose.

Keywords:   epistolography prose, prose, poetry, oratory, letter-writing, Arabic literature

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.