Portrait of a Poet: the Lyrical Autobiography of Šmuʾel ha-Nagid in the Light of Other Sources of the Epoch Cover Image
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Portret poety: liryczna autobiografia Šmuʾela ha-Nagida w świetle źródeł epoki
Portrait of a Poet: the Lyrical Autobiography of Šmuʾel ha-Nagid in the Light of Other Sources of the Epoch

Author(s): Barbara Gryczan
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny
Keywords: Šmuʾel ha-Nagid; medieval Hebrew poetry; al-Andalus

Summary/Abstract: The article gives an insight into Šmuʾel Nagid’s life through the prism of the commentaries made both by Arabic and Jewish voices of his time and, most of all, his own poetic voice. Ha-Nagid (993–1056) – known also as Ismāʻīl Ibn al-Naġrīla – was a Jewish intellectual who rose to power and prominence in the Muslim city-state of Granada in the first half of the 11th century. His life story provides a rare example of the spectacular success and career advancement of a man who rose from scratch to become the most powerful man after the king (Badīs) and an admired leader of the Andalusian Jewry. I present, how his poetic works reflect those public aspects of his life, as well as the opposite ones – private and intimate. I confronted his testimonies with commentaries of the epoch – both Jewish and Arabic.The key to his success was an extraordinary diplomatic talent, which was,among many others, a virtue often praised. However, he was an object of hatred and racist attacks of Badīs’s opponents, while the whole city of Granada was despised by them as contaminated by Jews. What is more, Ha-Nagid received also some criticism from the Jewish elites for being an advocate for someone else’s cause. As an excellent poet, who showed a unique tendency of keeping a versified record of his life, he kept poetical track of events, commented on them and replied to the criticism in a fascinating manner in some of his autobiographic verse which were here analyzed.

  • Issue Year: 277/2021
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 15-89
  • Page Count: 75
  • Language: Polish, Hebrew