(Nāzik al-Malā’ikah and poetic rewriting, from The Tragedy of Life (Ma’sāt al-ḥayāh))
in La rivista di Arablit, a. VII, n. 13, giugno 2017, pp. 51-67.
The Iraqi poet and critic Nāzik al-Malā’ikah has introduced at an early age into Arabic poetry the equivalent to the English long poem, which she has called qaṣīdah mudawwarah. She wrote Ma’sāt al-ḥayāh (The Tragedy of Life) in 1945; the text was then modified under the new title of Uġniyah li ’l-insān (Song for the Man) in 1950 and again in 1965 (Uġniyah li ’l-insān II). She published the three poems as a whole in 1970. This paper aims to reconstruct the phases of creation and revision of the three works, with a focus on influences from both English and American literature, and Arabic Islamic tradition. A survey of this trilogy is offered, with an analysis of two poetic passages recurring in each version and regarding the theme of childhood and the story of Adam and Eve. The persistence of al-Malā’ikah in working on this trilogy summarizes its central role in her artistic maturation and confirms her cathartic use of poetry.
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