The aesthetics of sppropriation : Ghalib's Persian Ghazal poetry and its critics
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This thesis examines the Persian ghazal poetry of Mirza Ghalib. It does so in the light of the corpus of critical literature in Urdu, Persian, and English that concerns both the poetry of Ghalib as well as the poetry of the so-called “Indian Style” of Persian poetry. Poems by Ghalib and his literary forebears, including Fighani, Naziri, ‘Urfi, Zuhuri, Sa’ib, and Bedil are offered in translation; critical commentary follows each text. The thesis explicates the ways in which each of these authors engaged in an intertextual dialogue, here called javaab-go’ii, or appropriative response-writing, with his forebears, and argues that the dynamics of this intertextual dialogue contribute significantly to the poetry’s aesthetics. These “aesthetics of appropriation” are discussed, analyzed, and evaluated both in the light of Ghalib’s writings on literary influence and Persian poetics, as well as in the light of the aforementioned corpus of critical literature.