Inici > Traduccions de la Ilíada > Ilyādhat Hūmīrūs. La Ilíada en àrab de Suleiman al-Bustani

Ilyādhat Hūmīrūs. La Ilíada en àrab de Suleiman al-Bustani

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Suleiman al-Bustani (سليمان البـسـتاني ) 1856–1925) (Bkheshtin, Líban, 1856 - Nova York, 1925).

Suleiman al-Bustani (سليمان البـسـتاني ) 1856–1925) (Bkheshtin, Líban, 1856 – Nova York, 1925).

Sulaymân al-Bustânî (1856-1925) translated the Iliad of Homer into Arabic verses with a 200-page historical and literary introduction to the author and his works. First edited in Cairo 1904, Ilyâdhat Homîros is an impressive comparative study in the literatures of old Greek heathenism and pre-Islamic Arab Jâhiliyya. The book compares the 150 years of “pre-Islamic renaissance” (an-nahda al-jâhiliyya) with poet Imru’ al-Qays at its height 90 years before Islam, to the centuries around Homer in 900 B.C.E. (1: 117). It compares Arab heroes like `Antara to Greeks of Achilles’ calibre, and the Arabic “hanged poems” (al-Mu`allaqât) to the Greek great tradition of epic poetry (1: 173). Finally, it compares the rather “primitive” war, Harb al-Basus, to the more spectacular Trojan War (1: 168) and compares the Arabian traditions of competition — athletic, as was illustrated by the forty years’ war that followed a disputed racing between Dâhis and al-Ghabrâ, and intellectual, as in the ta`âkuzia debates (1: 191) — to the great Greek tradition of agonism.

Mohammed Ben Jelloun
Agonistic Islam (nota 6)

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Iliada Al-Boustani

Inici del Cant I de la Ilíada, en la traducció d’Al-Boustani (1904)

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The importance of El Bostany’s poetic translation is due to the three following factors:
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1.- It represents a turning point in the cultural and academic life in Egypt and the Arab world. It was published 21 years before the foundation of the Department of Ancient European Culture (= Classics) in Cairo University (1925) by Taha Hussein […]. Therefore, it can be reasonably said that this translation partially contributed to the establishment of Greek and Latin Studies in Egypt. Soliman El Bostany had tried to teach himself Greek. However his translation of the Iliad depends on French, Italian and English translation rather than on the Greek original.
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2.- The introduction to El Bostany’s translation is extremely interesting. It is a serious comparative study of Greek and Arabic poetry. It also deals with the problems of translating poems into poetic translations. This introduction, appearing so early, can be considered as a leading study in classics and comparative criticism.
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3.- It is the first complete translation of the Iliad into Arabic.

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[…]
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The translation of the Iliad intto Arabic took Soliman El Bostany almost twenty years of hard work. It has about eleven thousand Arabic verses, parallel to about sixteen thousand Greek original verses. The problems which El Bostany faced are numerous. Such translation requires wide reading in the mythology, history, archeology, geography, economy and politics of Ancient Greece. How did he solve the problems? […]
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In the 1960s Dreeny Khashabah published an Iliad and an Odyssey. A Lebanese, Anber Salam by name, published simplified texts of the two epics. Amin Salama also published the two epics in Arabic. The last serious effort was that of the great Syrian poet Mamdouh Udwan who published in Abu Dhabie (2002) a complete prose translation of the Iliad, made from an English translation.
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Ahmed Etman
The Arab Reception of the Classics, dins de:
A Companion to Classical Receptions
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Suleiman al-Bustani

Suleiman al-Bustani

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AL.SHI’R AL-MURSAL (BLANK VERSE) IN MODERN ARABIC LITERATURE

The accepted definition of poetry among most of the classical Arab prosodists is al-kalãm al-mawzûn al-muqaffã ‘speech in metre and rhyme’. Unrhymed verse was thus excluded.

The simplest rhyme in Arabic verse is generally a consonant (rawiyy) between two vowels. The only exception to this rule is the rhyme of al-qasîda al-maqsûra, i.e. in a poem which rhymes with alif maqsûra, where the consonant is not important.

It is obvious from statements of critics and philosophers interested in the Greek sciences that the fact that the Greeks wrote blank verse was known to the Arabs. However, they were all firm in their conviction that rhyme in Arabic poetry was essential as metre. In his Kitãb al-shi’r, al Fãrãbi (873-950) observed that Homer used blank verse: ‘It is clear from the work (fi’l) of Homer (Awmirûsh) the poet of the Greeks, that he does not keep the equal endings (of the lines) while the Arabs pay more attention to rhyme than do other nations: ‘The Arabs pay more attention to the ending of verses in poetry than many nations with whose poetry we are acquainted’.

Even the great scholar of Greek philosophy and commentator on the Poetica of Aristotle, Ibn Sinã (980-1037), tended to deny Arabic unrhymed verse the title of poetry: ‘Poetry is imaginary speech (kalãm mukhayyal), equal rhythm; repeated according to its measure; similar in its final letters (mutashãbiha hurûf al-khawãtim)… our saying: “similar in its endings” is in order to distinguish between the rhymed and unrhymed. We almost do not call that which is unrhymed poetry’.

The Arab prosodists disapproved of slight discordances in the rhyme, its vowel, and the vowels preceding its consonant (rawiyy). In their developed ‘art of rhymes’ (‘ilm ak-qawãfi) each type of discordance was given a special term, such as iqwã’, ikfã, isrãf and sinãd. Of course, avoiding such ‘defects’ imposed greater restrictions on the poet’s freedom. Pure scientific, philological and lexicographic works which were written by Arabic scholars developed poetry towards purification in form, music, and visual perfection by introducing al-badi’ (the science of metaphor). These devices added further obstacles to the free expression of emotion and thought. During centuries the monotonous themes, poetical diction, and metaphor arrived at a point of stagnation, in spite of the fact that, through their extraordinary talents, great masters of Arabic poetry succeeded in adding a few interesting innovations to the Arabic poetic heritage.

Under the impact of the West, some Arab poets tried to introduce new poetic diction, metaphors, and themes, and to find new forms and music which suited them, in order to be able to avoid what they considered the enslaving style, and the sonorous and declamatory tone of classical Arab poetry. For this reason strophic forms of the muwash-shah and zajal were revived. The versification of the Iliad by Sulaymãn al-Bustãni (1856-1925) was one of the most serious attempts to get rid of the burden of the monorhyme in the monometric poem. Bustãni translated most of the Iliad into strophic verse following an established fashion among the Syrian and Lebanese poets. He did not want to use blank verse, the original form of the Iliad, in his versification, preferring strophic verse because, he stated, poetry in Arabic is defined by rhyme and metre (al-kalãm al-muqaffã ‘l-mawzûn). He therefore refrained from violating Arabic taste and the nature of the Arabic language which, in contrast with other languages, is rich in rhymes. However, although he was convinced that rhyme and its melody are an essential part of Arabic prosody, he did not use monorhyme extensively because he found it monotonous and an unnecessary restriction in epic and narrative poetry. Nevertheless, his admiration for rhyme led himself to avoid any defects in rhyme condemned by Arab prosodists.

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Smuel Moreh

Modern Arabic Poetry 1800-1970

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