1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabic Literature - Biography

(Part 52)


(52) Arabic Literature - Biography

With memoirs, biographies, collections of anecdotes, and the like, Arab literature is stored in excess, the bulk of such works being, as might be supposed, of somewhat superficial interest; while not a few of them are, on the contrary, possessed of great merit and value. Thus the Book of Songs, or "Kitab el Aghanee," composed in the latter part of the 10th century by Abu-Faraj, of Ispahan, and containing, in twenty successive volumes, short but entertaining notices of all the principal Arab poets or singers, with specimens of their compositions, is, in addition to its speciality, a perfect treasure of the most varied information regarding the men and the times; and the Life of Mahomet, by Abul-Feda, of Aleppo, display considerable critical acumen as well as narrative power. Nor should we forget the judiciously-selected biographies of Mahometan celebrities by Ebn Khallikan, in the 12th century, or those of Koteybah of an earlier date; but of such compositions as these the Arab name is legion.

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