An analytical study of themes in the poetry of Ma'ruf al-Rusafi

al-Dabagh, Fawziah A (1977) An analytical study of themes in the poetry of Ma'ruf al-Rusafi. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10647803.pdf] PDF
Download (13MB)


Ma'ruf al-Rusafi, the distinguished Iraqi poet, was born in Baghdad in 1875 and died there on the sixteenth of March, 1945. He became a member of the al-Mab'uthan Council, he was several times in the Iraqi parliament, he lectured in Arabic Literature, and was unemployed for a long period during the last part of his life, when he had great difficulty in earning his living. Because he was frank, free-minded, ambitious, pure and dignified, he was subjected to continual attack by the rulers, religious leaders and conservatives, and consequently he lived a troubled and changeable life. This coloured his poetry with melancholy. His poetry was a complete record of the intellectual developments, social changes, economic problems, political events and literary currents of the time, in Iraq particularly, and in the Arab and Muslim World generally. His Diwan (in two volumes) contains three hundred and fifty poems. Some further political and social poems and his poems for children were not included in this Diwan. He also composed another Diwan, Al-gnl'r al-Makshuf, consisting mostly of erotic poems, which is not published yet. His poetical manner generally was smooth, easy, clear, expressive and eloquent. He believed that art has a goal, and that the real function of literature in any nation is to illustrate the ideal principles to the new generation, to awaken the national consciousness, and to encourage belief in progress. He therefore gave great attention to tile content of his poems and tried to avoid rhetorical devices. He was a modem poet in his poetical objectives, clear expression and unified poems, and a traditional poet in the form of Ms poetry using metre and rhyme. Although the tried to avoid the use of obscure words and repetition, his poetry contained some of both. It also contained many rhetorical devices, reminiscences of and quotations from earlier poets, proverbs and sayings. His poetry for children was distinguished by its clearness, easiness, simple words and particular poetical music. Al-Rusafi was influenced by Turkish literature and Western literary currents, reflecting some of the new scientific theories in his poetry. He composed in different genres of poetry: Social, Political, Description, Elegy, Panegyric, Satire, Nasib and Fakhr. But the most important parts of his Diwan were the Social and Political genres. In his Social poetry, he tried to direct people's attention to the great importance of Education and knowledge in the progress of any nation. He also tried to point out the importance of Work, National unity. Social equality, Charitable works and the Emancipation of women. He recalled earlier glory of the Muslims and Arabs in order to urge people to regain it. He was a humanitarian poet, took a special interest in the miserable, and called for aid for them as being human and the victims of society. In his political poetry, under the Ottoman Empire, he demanded Individual Freedom for each country within the group, so that they might obtain their political rights through a representative government working under a constitution and might obtain their rights of Freedom of publication and thought, both of which were limited by the law. After 1911, and with the increase of Western control of the Arab and Muslim countries, he demanded Independence for these countries. When the British occupied Iraq, he devoted his poetry to attacking them and demanding their evacuation, and to persuading the people of Iraq to pursue full independence. He continually advocated the formation of a nationalist government, and he always exposed the antinational policies that were followed by the native governments, believing that these were the agents of the British. Al-Rusafi was a great believer in Peace and the importance of Unity between the Arab countries in all aspects. His Descriptive poetry was distinguished by its completeness and accuracy, and by being linked with his humanitarian feelings. He described nature, modern inventions, calamities, and places of entertainment, In Elegy, he demonstrated his feelings towards his friends and contemporary poets, his faithfulness to his teachers and his patriotic consciousness. He used Panegyric to praise men for the benefits they confirmed on the people, not to flatter them for his own profit. He tried to avoid Satire and when he did use it he did not use it in a painful manner. M-Nasib poetry is very infrequent in his Diwan, and he imitated classical models. Al-Rusafi was proud of his own poetical skill and his striking personality, but he acknowledged the poetical talents of others as well.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: John Mattock
Keywords: Middle Eastern literature
Date of Award: 1977
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1977-73286
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year