Multicultural Iberia: Language, Literature, and Music by Dru Dougherty, Milton M. Azevedo

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Extra resources for Multicultural Iberia: Language, Literature, and Music (Research Series (University of California, Berkeley International and Area Studies))

Sample text

Dámaso Alonso related this topos to the heron’s neck, which reinforces the image. Long necks are clearly preferred in Arabic poetry, as is evident in the mu Callaqa by the laureate pre-Islamic poet CImru-l-Qays, where the neck of the beloved is compared to the neck of an antelope. The teeth a trifle separated constitute a variant of the canonical description of white and well-proportioned teeth, a variant which clearly differs from the puella bella canon. A transcription error, as some scholars have suggested, is very unlikely and can be rejected if we find a better explanation, as we will.

Who can endure your absence, my beloved one? 26 Francisco A. Marcos-MarÍn Hair, face, eyes, mouth, throat, and neck are explicitly underlined in these poems. Note that both fair and dark hair are acceptable in men and that the mouth is round, thin, and red, while face and neck are shining white. At the beginning of the thirteenth century a scholar wrote the Razon de amor, 264 lines, including a descriptio puellae. This is apparently a conventional description, although there are some peculiarities that show certain differences between the Hispanic canon and the canonical description of the puella bella, the beautiful maiden.

In both a small separation (tafriq yasir) of the front teeth is greatly appreciated. We shall return to this point below. Thin lips are also part of the Arab poetic tradition, as opposed to the tumentia labra of the Western canon, as Maria Rosa Lida de Malkiel pointed out. Zamya and humusa are terms used in Arabic for different shapes of thin lips, according again to Al-Tidjani, whose Chapter 20 gives a complete account of those details. Kharadjat 14 and 20 can be added to the list oft known examples.

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