Patronage, Power, and Panegyric, 1920–1932
This chapter explores the patronage relationships between poets and political elites through the evolution of the panegyric in the colonial state. It looks at how the Hashemite state subsidized popular poets in order to cultivate their own political legitimacy and how dissident poets challenged the state through creative public performances. It argues that modern protest poetry emerged from the dissident panegyric, which became subversive when poets praised political elites for their commitment to policies that those elites could not or would not actually support. The chapter also shows how poetic engagement with social issues like women’s education and veiling shaped popular opinion and contributed to growing social cleavages between generations and how patronage rivalries contributed to new sectarian tensions in Iraqi political life.
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