Poetry, History, and Authenticity, 1876–1914
This chapter details the engagement of Iraqi poets with the Arab Nahda of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It provides a brief account of the social role of poetry in late Ottoman Iraq and a survey of the neoclassical poetry revival in Egypt and Syria. The chapter shows how Iraqi poets used the Nahda press to articulate their own relationship to modernity and reveals how new appreciations of the singularity of Iraq’s poetry tradition inspired proto-nationalist conceptions of Iraqi culture. Finally, the chapter examines the efforts of a new generation of young Najafi poets to promote the pioneering role of their own Najafi predecessors and reconstruct the historiography of the Arab Nahda for a broader Arab audience in the early twentieth century.
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