An Introduction to the Study of the Eloquent Speech of the Arabs


Muqaddama li dirāsat balāghat al-ʻArab (An introduction to the study of the eloquent speech of the Arabs) is a work on Arabic literature or belles lettres. The author, Aḥmad Ḍayf, was an instructor at the Egyptian University (later renamed the University of Cairo). The book was intended for students at the university and was to serve as a study guide for their understanding of literary eloquence. It includes a brief description of the modern Arabic literary movement. Other topics covered are belles lettres and society, and the different categories of Arabic poetry, such as the poetry of the jāhilīya period, literally “the poetry of ignorance.” This pre-Islamic poetry is a major source for classical Arabic grammar and vocabulary, and the poems that have survived are held by some to be among the finest Arabic poetry of all time. Ḍayf also includes a survey of literary criticism in France from Pierre de Ronsard (1524−85) to Boileau (Nicholas Boileau-Depréaux, 1636−1711), both of whom were poets as well as critics. Dayf also discusses later literary critics, such as Hippolyte Taine (1828−93) and Ferdinand Brunetière (1849−1906). The book was issued by the publishing house of al-Sufūr in Cairo in 1921.

Date Created

Publication Information

Al-Sufūr Printing House, Cairo


Title in Original Language

مقدمة لدراسة بلاغة العرب

Type of Item

Physical Description

187 pages ; 25 centimeters

Last updated: October 17, 2014