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Investigating the Relationship between the Islamic Empires and Arabic Literature in the Middle Ages - Focusing on the Umayyad Era and the Abbasid Era

Neung Woo Kim 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This research investigates the relationship between the Islamic empires of the Umayyads and the Abbasids, and Arabic literature in the Middle Ages. The purpose of the research is two-fold: to understand how the literature participated in the management of the empires, and how it reflected the social phenomena that happened in the empires. The role of the poets in the empires overstepped the tribal level and was extended to the national level, such as defending the legitimacy of the rulers, supporting the policies of the empire, and criticizing social affairs. The empires witnessed negative phenomena such as the pursuit of pleasure and moral decay resulting from the expansion of urban culture. These phenomena were reflected in poems with the theme of wine and physical love. Meanwhile, the poetry of Sufism (Islamic mysticism) and the poetry of platonic love appeared as a reaction against the pleasure prevailing state of the society. Despite the Islamic principle of equality of all Muslims, non-Arabic Muslims actually were discriminated against by the Arabs. This caused resistance on the part of the non-Arabs, which began to take shape in the anti-Arab Shuʿūbiyyah movement led by Persians. Thus, Arabic writers tried to criticize or satirize the movement. In general, the Arabic literature of the Middle Ages reflected and commented on social phenomena and problems witnessed in the Islamic empires.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.