Magamat of Badi' al-Zamán al Hamadhani (1915) Translated from the Arabic by W.J. Prendergast

Magamat of Badi' al-Zamán al Hamadhani (1915) Translated from the Arabic by W.J. Prendergast Free book

Magamat of Badi' al-Zamán al Hamadhani


This Translation of the Maqamat of Badi' al-Zaman al-Hamadhani مقامات بديع الزمان الهمذاني


This image was contained in the Arabic version. this book does not have illustrations.

Translated from the original Arabic with an Introduction and Notes was prepared as my thesis for the Research Degree of Bachelor of Letters, Oxford University, during the years 1913-14, and I now publish it as it was then written. The original being largely in rhymed prose to which sense is sometimes subordinated to sound, there will necessarily be much in the rendering that will appear insipid and uninteresting to the English reader unacquainted with Arabic; but, as the Maqamat gave the first impulse to a species of composition which has for centuries been regarded as an important branch of belles lettres, it is hoped that this first translation of the work into English will be favorably received by Arabic scholars and that students will find it an aid to the understanding of this famous classic.

What is Magamat of Badi' al-Zamán al Hamadhani.

The work consists of a series of anecdotes of social satire written and the narrative concerns the travels of a middle-aged man as he uses his charm and eloquence to swindle his way across the Arabic world.

The work is characterized by the alternation of rhymed prose (sajʿ) and poetry. They are narrated from the point of view of a fictitious character, 'very likely a traveling merchant who has money and time', ʿĪsā ibn Hishām, about the adventures of an eloquent beggar named Abū al-Fatḥ al-Iskandarī' The Maqamat are also known for their intertextuality and narrative construction.
According to Ailin Qian,

The core of the Hamadhānian maqāmah is dialogue, and al-Hamadhānī, by using techniques such as isnād and framing, simulated some kind of public presentation. Al-Hamadhānī’s efforts to preserve the characteristics of oral performance in his maqāmāt played a great role in creating their prosimetric style.

A century later, these maqamat inspired the maqamat of Al-Hariri of Basra, which in turn inspired the Hebrew Tahkemoni. The Abbasid artist and poet, Yahya Al-Wasiti, who lived in Baghdad in the late Abbasid era (12th to 13th-centuries) and was one of the pre-eminent exponents of the Baghdad School, is known to have transcribed and illustrated the work in 1236-37, Maqamat (also known as the Assemblies or the Sessions).

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