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The Dangers of PoetryCulture, Politics, and Revolution in Iraq$
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Kevin M. Jones

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781503613393

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503613393.001.0001

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Double-Edged Praise

Double-Edged Praise

Patronage, Power, and Panegyric, 1920–1932

(p.75) Chapter 3 Double-Edged Praise
The Dangers of Poetry

Kevin M. Jones

Stanford University Press

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.

Keywords:   poetry, colonialism, nationalism, Iraqi politics, intellectual life, politics and literature, politics and culture, modernism, secularism, gender

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