This is the first systematic literary study of one of the masterpieces of classical Arabic literature, the fourth/tenth century Kitâb al-aghânî (The Book of Songs) by Abû I-Faraj al-Isbahânî. Until now the twenty-four volume Book of Songs has been regarded as a rather chaotic but priceless mine of information about classical Arabic music, literature and culture. This book approaches it as a work of literature in its own right, with its own internal logic and coherence. The study also consistently integrates the musical component into the analysis and proposes a reading of the work in which individual anecdotes and poems are related to the wider context, enhancing their meaning.
1. Modern Research on the Kitâb al-aghânî 2. Abû I-Faraj's Life, Times and Works 3. Abû I-Faraj's Interventions: Songs and Singers 4. Abû I-Faraj's Interventions: Poetry and Poets 5. Abû I-Faraj's Interventions: Prose akhbâr and the Arrangement of Material 6. Articles on Songs, Events and Relationships 7. Articles on Personalities 8. Connections between Articles: The Common Fund of Material 9. Ordering the Material: The Framework of Introductory Songs