Poetry and Narrative in Performance

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The most dynamic poets often eschewed the lyric in favour of a dramatic persona by which to vent their concerns about social injustices or global turbulence. A few daringly fictionalised the first person pronoun to explore female identity. Some poets disrupted the lyric form altogether as a means to disturb and find a place within a male-dominated lyric tradition.

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Lyric, Narrative and Performance in Poetry. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Google Scholar. Elizabeth W. Nor does colloquial Arabic ipa transcription mark long and short vowels with macrons as does Classical Arabic, but rather the same diacritical mark of the macron is confusingly de- ployed to indicate stressed and unstressed vowels of spoken Egyptian Arabic.

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Still missing from all these transcriptions regardless of script choice are musical notations which should accompany each line of professionally performed epic texts. They chronicle episodes about the Hilali heroine Zazyah still popularly recited in present-day Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Modern scholarship on the epic must always return to his earliest examples as does the work of pioneering literary scholar Pierre Cachia.

Poetry and Narrative in Performance

Not until very recently have these compositions come to be recognized as a literature of some kind. This is because in striking contrast to colloquial poetry, colloquial prose is readily transformed and transcribed into Classical Arabic and subsequently but mistakenly deemed a linguistic im- provement over the vernacular. Such scholarly innovations began with pioneering researchers of the s and s who emerged after the establishment of the Republic of Egypt by Under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, socialist-inflected ideologies encouraged and underwrote systematic investigations into both Egyptian folk literature and the spoken language precisely because they reflected oral and literary transmission in the dialect by the masses.

Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, , , especially footnote My contribution to the Algiers conference was a preliminary version of this essay. Much has changed in Egypt since Cachia penned those early articles in the s on the lamentable state of folk literary studies, especially concerning measures to safeguard epic performance in the twenty-first century.


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  6. Jonathan P. Hallemeier, who researched the state of the Egyptian epic noted changes in audience makeup and appreciation as traditional performance contexts seemed to be in decline: Thus the story of professional poetic performance over the last century is one of competing trends. On the other hand, those who have histori- cally held those same views, the cultural elite, have increasingly come to consider the epic to be a sophisticated subject of study and an impor- tant part of Egyptian, and world, heritage.

    Accessed January 31, However, based on the performances I attended, it is clear that some poets have adapted to these rapid societal changes and exploited the opportunities of the second trend.

    These steps seem to reflect a range of novel twenty-first century relationships forged among contemporary Egyptian poets, the production of performance texts, and new audience constituencies. However, despite these radically novel public perfor- mance venues made available through television, film, YouTube renditions, and spectacles of Hilali poets on foreign tours, many contextual and structural frameworks for epic performance persist through formidable adaptive forma- tions.

    Tauris, Folklore studies of the epic by Cachia and many others have contributed to changing valorizations of epic performance but also to shaping local Egyptian receptions and perceptions. Introducing the Praise-Poem According to the temporal sequencing of a live performance, the praise-poem must be declaimed first in order to introduce the poet to audiences and the audience to the performance.

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    How did it shape and how was it shaped by the process of exchange? Which higher authorities did it invoke? Praise is conventionally understood to be a referential discourse that amplifies its referent by means of ornamental tropes and usually comparative ones. The opening praise songs that begin epic performance in the Arab tradition are not only poems of praise but characteristically poems about praise.

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    Praise is demonstrative speech that works by showing its own showing, by pointing to its pointing. Dan Ben-Amos and Kenneth S. So praise points back here to us, when it points there to the divine. Praise of the Prophet addresses a timeless and unchanging reality, while praise of our ancestors and ourselves is concerned with shifting and unpredictable events here below. Audience definitions corroborate this sequence of praise-poems both pre- ceding and concluding public recitations of a performed Hilali episode.

    In addition, the proportion of praise poetry to epic recitation was understood locally as a critical determinant that defined who could even be called a singer of tales in the epic tradition.

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    In the Arab epic tradition, the praising poet and the prophetic poet are frequently conflated, the panegyrics of the former being readily assimilated to the historically rooted vision of the latter. Here the center of atten- tion shifts to the life and creative virtuosity of the performing poet. He told me how his ancestors learned their art according to a tale that joins poetic subject to poetic object. That the Upper Egyptian epic poet dreams the entire epic also finds its structuring parallels in the deployment of dreams within the epic narrative.

    In addition, the chosen praise-poem often foreshadows aspects of the Hilali narrative to follow. While divine intervention is invoked by epic poets for themselves on behalf of their creative artistry, a second set of relevant magical events occurs within the epic narrative sequence itself. I ask how an epic poet begins reciting an epic and how the epic hero is born.

    How does an epic begin in performance and in narration? While epic performance begins with praise-poetry, epic narrative beginnings are not necessarily found in the birth of the hero. These subsequent episodes remain most in demand by audiences even when watching television or film versions. The idea that a complete epic can exist in the minds of both performer and audience without ever being realized in performance was developed by students of the African oral epic as a paradigm for oral epic studies in general.

    In rural or poorer urban contexts whose traditional audiences for epic recitation are said to be declining , when those audiences patronized epic poets, and even if requests are influenced by film and cassette versions, topics for an evening storytelling session tended toward truncated and compact versions of love and battle scenes. Richard M. Dorson Garden City, n.

    What Is Narrative Poetry? Definition and Examples

    As delineated by Lord Raglan and ex- panded by Alan Dundes, the pattern of heroic leaders allows for typological comparisons with the lives of traditional European male protagonists such as Oedipus, Perseus, Arthur, Robin Hood and Jesus Christ. His explanation is that the hero pattern exemplifies the psychological principle of projection: the son who wants to get rid of his father is transformed into the father who gets rid of the son. Thus, projection frees the son from guilt caused by hating the father for possessing the mother.

    It becomes externally represented, however, as he strives to win paternal acknowledgement … The struggle to win social acceptance, symbolized by winning his patrimony, provides the dramatic mainspring for the first part of the story. Her wish yields a hero who is ferocious but also black. He wanted a son. One day in the desert she saw a a black crow b a raven with a white breast.


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    8. It fearlessly chased away a group of much larger birds. O Lord, she said, grant me a son like that bird even if he is as black as it is. In time she had a son. The Shaykh was well pleased and all the tribe came to offer congratula- tions and wish blessings and long life for the new baby boy.

      John William Johnson, Thomas A. D diss. For a compilation of Upper Egyptian versions transcribed in Arabic script sharing similar narrative devices and often the same oral-formulaic epithets pp.

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