Comparative Study of Longinus and Al-Jurjani - The Interrelationships Between Medieval Arabic Literary Criticism and Graeco-Roman Poetics

Author: Abdulla, Adnan K.
This book investigates the similarities and differences between two critics, two books, and two concepts: Longinus’ “Sublime” in his On the Sublime (1st or 3rd A.D.) and al-Jurjani’s “Standard of Poetry” in his Mediation between al-Mutanabbi and his Adversaries (10th A.D.). Although much is known about al-Jurjani, his books and his times, almost nothing is known about Longinus: we are not sure who wrote that book, when and where it was written, and even how to translate the title. Al-Jurjani lived at least some seven centuries later and his ideas crystallize Arabic thought on great poetry.


“The confluence of the two works under consideration in Professor Abdulla’s enjoyable and informative book is interesting in a number of ways. Although they were originally written at relatively disparate times, in conjunction with different bodies of artistic endeavors, and with different purposes, they reveal to us not only two critics, but also sophisticated and parallel thinking about the means, the reception, and the origins of great art that strikes us suddenly and totally ... The expertise of both al-Jurjani and Longinus is strikingly sophisticated, especially so the more we understand the milieu out of which they both emerge. The present work is a fine presentation of ideas that should increase an awareness and understanding of that sophistication, in works that could not possibly exist in an intellectual vacuum. They have to be a part of a culture which in itself is sophisticated. We 'know' the Graeco-Roman milieu is sophisticated, but most are unaware of the extent of the sophistication of medieval Arabic thought. Al-Jurjani’s treatise makes us more aware. An understanding of each culture is conducive to further understanding of what kind of thinking has occurred, and is still pertinent. Professor Abdulla is eminently suited as a bridge between the two critical treatises, and treatises which link different cultures, which in themselves share qualities that have influenced each other ... I hope that readers will enjoy this book, and learn as much from it as I have.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) H. James Jensen, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

Table of Contents

1. Palmyra and Zenobia: A Historical Background
2. Cassius Longinus: Life, Writings, and Critical Debate
3. Al-Qad? al-Jurjan?: Life, Writings, and Al-Wasata
4. The Comparison/The Parallel Between Peri Hupsous and Al-Wasata