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Alfarabi on imagination: with a translation of his "Treatise on Poetry."

Though Alfarabi's treatment of imagination has received much critical attention in recent years, a problem that still requires examination is the distinction which Alfarabi introduced between the various terms derived from the root khal. While some critics have examined the concept of imagination without specifying which of Alfarabi's numerous Arabic terms that are translatable into "imagination" they intend, others have been alert to the importance of the different derivations that appear in Alfarabi -- derivations like khayal, takhyeel, takhayyul and others.[1] The most extensive study of the concept of imagination in Alfarabi and his successors appears in Von Wolfhart Heinrichs' "Die antike Verknupfung von Phantasia und Dicthung bei den Arabern,"[2] but neither he, nor other critics, have examined the innovation in Alfarabi's analysis of imagination, especially as it appears in his short Treatise on Poetry, Kitab-u-Shir. The purpose of this paper is to show how Alfarabi differentiated between various derivations from the root khal in order to arrive at a specific meaning of imagination that would be suitable in the analysis of poetics.[3]

Alfarabi was the greatest Arab/Muslim philosopher to engage the Greek mind, particularly that of Aristotle and Plato. Although it is unlikely that he knew Greek, Alfarabi mastered Arabic, Turkish and Persian, which explains his emphasis on philological distinctions -- in this case, pertaining to the Arabic term for imagination. Primarily, the theory of imagination which Alfarabi examined was based on Aristotle's De Anima, Book III, chapter 3 (along with De Sominiis and other sources). The Stagirite taught that imagination had to be distinguished from sensation, although the former was dependent on the latter and constituted the basis on which thought became possible. He also explained that imagination -- that faculty by which thought evokes images -- was not capable of truth or falsity

Alfarabi was particularly interested in the latter issue: the truth and/or falsity of imagination, because he was interested in the role of imagination, not as Aristotle had analyzed it -- solely in the context of psychology -- but in poetics too. Indeed, it is clear that imagination for Alfarabi was as important in aesthetic theory as it was in psychology and political theory (as chapter 10 of section 4 in The Perfect State shows). But before Alfarabi could examine imagination in the context of poetics, he realized that he had to identify precisely the terms that he could use. For in the translations of Aristotle and of other Greek writers available to him, Alfarabi had encountered numerous terms, widely divergent in meaning, signifying imagination. And since he was the first Arab/Muslim philosopher to situate imagination in the context of poetics, Alfarabi sought to distinguish carefully between the terms that would be applicable in psychology from those in poetics.

Since Alkinidi, who died in the latter part of the ninth century C.E., the Greek term "phantasia" which appears in De Anima had been translated as khayal. In the Poetics, Aristotle had not employed the term "phantasia," and, therefore, in the only surviving Arabic translation of that treatise by Abu Bishr Matta, the term does not appear at all [4]. Aside from the term khayal, however, there were also takhyeel and takhayyul which were associated with phantasia and which appeared in the Arabic translations of De Anima, in the translations of Greek commentaries on De Anima, chiefly that of Themistius,[5] and in other writings that alluded to Aristotle's faculties of the soul. So clearly were all these translations of phantasia linked to psychology that when Alfarabi wrote his own commentary on the Poetics, [6] he did not use them at all; "phantasia" seemed not to belong to poetics.

But in his Treatise on Poetry, probably written as a brief sequel to a unit in the Catalogue of the Sciences, Alfarabi departed from Aristotle and turned his attention to the role of imagination in art (sculpture) and poetics. Realizing that he was breaking new ground by treating imagination in this context, Alfarabi introduced a wide spectrum of derivations all of which appeared in one continuing part of the Treatise: "takhayyulat" (plural of "takhayyul"), "khuyyil," "yukhayyal," "takhayyal," "yukhayyil" "tukhayyil" and "mukhayyil." What is important about the list is not only its variety but also its omissions; for Alfarabi clearly avoided specific terms relating to imagination which had appeared in translations by Arab Aristotelians -- chiefly the terms khayal and wahm. The omission of the first was a great departure for Alfarabi since Alkindi [7], Ishaq bin Hunayn [8] and Qusta bin Luqa had frequently used it. Alfarabi did not employ it at all, possibly, because of the negative connotation associated with it -- as in Luqa's statement that khayal characterizes what is false and insane.[9] Khayal was also linked in Aristotelian translations to Plato's theory of phantasia and was therefore widely mistrusted [10]. Thus Mansour Ajami's generalization that "Takhyil [takhyeel] ... was the Arab philosophers' equivalent of the more abstract common noun khayal," does not hold true for Alfarabi (imagination)" [11]. For Alfarabi, there was a difference between takhyeel and khayal, and he clearly favored the former over the latter. Furthermore, Alfarabi did not use the terms wahm and tawahhum which were also associated with untruth;[12] and he avoided the link between takhayyul and tawahhum, which had been made by Ishaq bin Hunayn, who had predicated the latter on the former: "takhayyul u-tawahhum," imagining of phantasy.[13]

In the Treatise, Alfarabi used takhyeel at the outset of his discussion of imagination, but then shifted to takhayyul, and to the present passive yukhayyal. In so doing, Alfarabi was distinguishing between what he viewed as the end result of imagining, takhyeel, and the making/creating of that which is imagined takhayyal -- takhayyul One reason why Alfarabi may have wanted to reduce his dependence on takhyeel was that takhjeel (and its plural takhyeelat) occurred both in animals as also in humans.[14] Alfarabi needed a different term from takhyeel to signify the act of creating/causing imaginings, rather than the passive reception of images. He also needed a term that could imbue imagination with legitimacy, especially in its application to action. While for Aristotle, imitation and the nature of the resemblance between the real and the literary/artistic was a dominant motif in the Poetics, Alfarabi in the Treatise, focused on creative imagination, takhayyul, and its relationship to truth/the real in the context of human actions.

Alfarabi believed there was a faculty of imagination -- that which was creative/causative -- hat caused what was "imagined." The definition of imagination for Alfarabi was thus predicated on its function -- which function was to make imaginable and, therefore, to motivate to action. That is why all the derivations from the verb takhayyal which Alfarabi used afterwards in the Treatise were emphatic, employing the shadda (the diacritical mark which doubles a letter), underlining thereby, the element of creativity. Aiming at further philological precision, Alfarabi distinguished between the present active takhayyal and the past passive khuyyil. In so doing, he introduced an originative difference between the processes of imagination associated with these two verbs. And it was this difference that led Alfarabi to the most original concept in his discussion of imagination: "aqaweel mukhayyila" -- statements that create/cause imaginings.

Again, the importance of this concept must be seen in the context of the Aristotelian terminology that was current: there was the passive present tense, yutakhayyal, which to Ishaq bin Hunayn indicated "the imagining of that which does not exist in reality"[15] and the verbal noun, takhayyul, which to Themistius (in Ishaq's translation) indicated a "faculty that can receive the images of sensible objects through the mediation of sense-perception acting upon it."[16] In these usages, the former pointed to an image-forming faculty, while the latter indicated an image-receiving one. In the Treatise, Alfarabi used takhayyul as image-forming (as indeed the reflexive form of the verb indicates) and then turned to the past passive form:

For man's actions often follow his wandering imagination (takhayyulat), in

that he may imagine (takhayyal) something in a matter and then act in the

way he would were it confirmed by sense perception or demonstration that

the thing was in the matter, even if that which was imagined to him

(khuyyil) was not as it appeared (khuyyil).

In the above statement, there is takhayyal, he imagines, or creates/causes imaginings; and there is khuyyil, that which has been made imaginable. In the case of the former, the agent doing the imagining is al-quwwa al-mutakhayyila, the "faculty of representation," as Alfarabi explained in The Perfect State.[17] In the case of khuyyil, there is some ambiguity, for Alfarabi could have continued his above sentence with the active form of the verb: "even if that which he had imagined was not as he had imagined" -- which would have emphasized the image-forming operation of al-quwwa al-mutakhayyila. By turning to the passive khuyyil and its implied active participle (mukhayyil), Alfarabi was suggesting a quwwa which would be different from al-quwwa al-mutakhayyila (and not as Cantarino states and Ajami concurs "in the same vein" as takhyeel).[18] While al-quwwa al- mutakhayyila signifies the faculty that creates imagination in itself, i.e., is reflexive, al-quwwa al-mukhayyila points to the creating/projecting of imaginings, i.e., is causative and factitive. Although Alfarabi did not use the phrase, al-quwwa al-mukhayyila, he alluded to that faculty in his phrase, aqaweel mukhayyila.

Had Alfarabi used the phrase al-aqaweel al-mutakhayyala, he would have been suggesting that statements/discourses (aqaweel) are imagined by and from within the faculty of imagination. The use of aqaweel mukhayyila points to the imagining act as having an impact outside the imagining process itself and is caused by an unspecified agent, since grammatically, the verbal form khuyyil which Alfarabi used is one that does not need to have a subject, as incidentally, is the deponent use of "imaginor" in Seneca and others in the Classical tradition. The allusion to al-quwwa al-mukhayyila in imagination shows that Alfarabi was concerned in drawing attention, not so much to the agent, but to the creative process of imagining, not to the reflexive nature of imagining, but to its causative effect.

For Alfarabi there was an imagining in and by the al-quwwa al-mutakhayyila, a transitive imagining; and there was an imagining that was doubly transitive, active on something. Here Alfarabi was going beyond the distinction between imagination as a capacity a) to retain images, and b) to manipulate them, to a function of the imagination that allows it to act upon and to create imaginings by causing them in external things -- as is shown in Kitab ul-huruf: "tukhayyil fil-jawhar ma laysa huwa al-jawhar:"[19] it creates in the essence that which is not the essence; or as in the Treatise, "yukhayyil wujud a-shai'fi shai'-in akhar," "makes possible the imagining of the thing in something else." Alfarabi seems to point at a quwwa which causes imaginings, (and therefore changes those imaginings and that into which they are projected). That is why he used the term khuyyil, not only to mean that which was imagined, but also that which appears -- as the above quotation shows. What appears, Alfarabi recognizes, is what has been imagined,[20] and what has been imagined is what has been acted upon/created by al-quwwa al-mukhayyila. While takhayyal (along with its verbal noun takhayyul) implies a creative act whose impact is reflexive, yukhayyil along with its active participle verbal noun muhkhayyil (and passive participle mukhayyal) not only does not suggest an agent, but also that that which is being imagined is acting on an object to create it/make it appear.

Imagination, therefore, for Alfarabi motivates action.[21] But what is important is that in motivating action it establishes a certain legitimacy for itself As Alfarabi states in the Treatise, reason may indicate one thing, but if imagination indicates its opposite, the individual might still choose to follow what his imagination dictates; so although the imagination might project a falsity, there is a kind of suspension of belief as the individual acts in accordance with that falsity and in contradiction to reason. Such a function of imagination, however, need not set it at the polar extreme of reason/truth; rather, and because of its causative faculty, imagination should be seen to operate within the realm of sense perception and reason but with its own creative-mukhayyil meaning.

Alfarabi's introduction of mukhayyil propelled his theory of imagination beyond psychology into epistemology. For al-quwwa al-mukhayyila causes in external reality the existence of that which is not part of the sensory knowledge of that object. Although all that is in the imagination is from the senses, what Alfarabi shows is that the imagination can act causatively with the images which it receives from sense perceptions; it can project them onto objects, link them with other images, define and compare, analyze and create, thereby arriving at perceptive and abstractive knowledge. In so doing the link between imagination and imitation-muhakat is clarified; it is a link between al-quwwa al-mukhayyila, what is projected from the imagination onto external objects, and the analogies and/or differences that then become apparent between the objects. Al-quwwa al-mukhayyila projects an image onto an object raising thereby the possibility of comparing or contrasting that object with another. Al-quwwa al-mukhayyila makes possible muhakat.

It is important to note that Alfarabi used the term aqaweel mukhayyila, on which Aristotle had focused in the Poetics, in connection with muhakat/imitation. For in his short Treatise, Alfarabi proved to be the first Muslim philosopher to link Aristotle's discussion of imagination in De Anima to poetics. Indeed, what is important in the Treatise is that Alfarabi introduced an Aristotelian psychological term into aesthetics -- the concept of mukhayyil into artistic (sculpture and poetry) construction. In no other work did Alfarbi so carefully focus on the interaction between psychological imagination and poetic imitation.

In bringing takhayyul and mukhayyil into the poetic discourse, Alfarabi made possible later developments in Arab/Islamic theory. For at the start of his analysis of Aristotle's poetics, Ibn Sina employed the concept of takhyeel: "Poetry employs takhyeel."(22) Significantly, he indicated in this treatise that he was "summarizing" Aristotle's On Poetry, except that Aristotle had not mentioned "imagination" at the outset of his treatise. The same approach appears in Ibn Rushd's "Outline of Argument for the Short Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics;"(23) and so too in his Talkhees.(24) Both Ibn Sind, Ibn Rushd, and Musa bin Maymoon, who was directly indebted to Alfarabi,(25) introduced into their treatment of poetics a discussion of the nature of takhyeel and takhayyul. In so doing, they could not have been following Aristotle's text in the Arabic translation: rather, in integrating takhyeel and takhayyul into their commentary on the Poetics, Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd may well have been drawing on Alfarabi, not his Canons, but his Treatise, since it was in this short treatise that the concept of imagination had first been brought by a Muslim philosopher into the discourse on poetics.


The Arabs have been more attentive to rhyme in verse than any other nation whose poetry we have known. For their [Arabs] poems improve and become(a) more complete by the use of specific words(b) -- either familiar or unfamiliar; by having the meanings of words imitate the content of the statement;(c) by having rhythm; by being divided into metrical feet each of which is rhythmical, with a fixed number of syllables,(d) asbab(e) and awtad;(f) by having a fixed metrical arrangement that is identical between one part and another (for by this the parts become similar when enunciated); by having words in each meter fixed in their arrangement; by having fixed rhymes (which either use the same letters or use letters that are similar in enunciation); by having words imitate the matter in the statement; and also by being melodic.

Some nations treat the tune with which they melodify poetry as part of poetry in the same way that they treat words: so that a statement without its tune loses its meter as it would if it lost some of its letters. Other nations do not treat tune in the way they treat the letters in a statement but make the statement consist only in its letters - as is the case in the poetry of the Arabs. For if this poetry is melodified, the rhythm of the melody might clash with the rhythm of the words. This clash would disappear when the rhythm of the words produces its own melody. Those nations [the Arabs] treat the tune as they treat letters in a statement for fear that the meter of the statement would be lost if it is set to melody.

The publicg and many of the poets recognize that a statement is poetical when it is metrical and divided into feet that are enunciated at equal intervals. They do not care whether the statement consists in what imitates the object or not; neither do they care about the words as long as, in the language of that statement, those words are eloquent and literary: instead they prefer what is familiar and easy. Many of them [public and poets] have ruled that the rhyme endings of the parts [of the words] should be similar, either by using the same letters, or by using letters that are enunciated at equal intervals.

It is evident that Homer,(h) the poet of the Greeks, does not use a rhyme scheme. But a statement which imitates the matter without being metrically rhythmic is not considered poetical but is said to be a poetical statement. Should that statement be put in meter and divided into feet, it becomes poetry. For the constitution and substance of poetry among the ancients is that it be a statement which consists of that which imitates the matter, and that it be divided into feet which are enunciated at similar intervals. Everything else that is in it is then not necessary to its substance although it improves poetry. The most important of these two [things] in the constitution of poetry are imitation and the science of the things with which imitation is effected; the least important is meter.

Rhetoric may employ somethingi of imitation which is immediate, clear and familiar to all. Many of the rhetoricians, however, who are naturally inclined to poetical statements, have erred in using more imitation in rhetoric than they should, for imitation is not reliable. For then his [their rhetoricians] statement would, to many people, constitute eloquent rhetorici while in truth it is a poetical statement which has been diverted from rhetoric to poetry.

Many poets who are naturally inclined to statements of persuasion compose those statements in meter, so that for many people, the statements constitute poetry while actually being rhetorical statements that have been diverted from the method of rhetoric. Many rhetoricians combine in their rhetoric both matters, and so do many of the poets, and that is how most poetry is. But poetical statements should consist in things that imitate the matter of the statement. This imitation could either be in [the form of] action or of statement. If it is in action, it is of two kinds: one is for a man to imitate something with his hands (for instance to sculpt a statue which imitates a specific person or something other than that); or to do an action which imitates a man or anything else. Imitation in statement is [for a man] to construct the statement with matters that imitate the thing in the statement: that is to make the statement(k) point to the matters which imitate that thing. What is intended by the constructed statement which imitates the thing is the creative imagining (takhyeel)(l) of that thing -- either the imagining (takhyeel) of it in itself, or in something else.

The result is that the statement of imitation is twofold: one that makes possible the imagining (yukbayyil) of the thing itself, and another that makes possible the imagining (yukbayyil) of the thing in something else -- as are scientific statements. For one kind [of scientific statements] defines the thing in itself -- as in a definition, while another defines the existence of a thing in something else -- as in demonstration. Creative imagining (takhyeel) here is like science in demonstration and speculation in logic and persuasion in rhetoric. For man's actions often follow his wandering imagination (takhayyulat), in that he may imagine (takhayyal) something in a matter and then act in the way he would were it confirmed by sense perception or demonstration that the thing was in the matter, even if that which had been made imaginable to him (khuyyil) was not as it appeared (khuyyil). Thus it is said: if a man looks at something which is similar to what he loathes, it instantly is made imaginable to him (yukhayyal) that that thing is what he actually loathes: he is thus revolted and turns away from it even if in reality it is not as it appeared to him (khuyyil).(m) Similarly with a man when he listens to discourses of imitation: he imagines (takhayyal) in the thing a certain matter. For what he sees with his eyesight imaginatively creates (yukhayyil)(n) for him a certain matter in that object in the same way that if a statement described that matter to him, it would imaginatively create (yukhayyil) that same matter in the object which had been imaginatively created (khuyyil) in it by eyesight. Similarly in statements which imaginatively create (tukhayyil) beauty or ugliness or oppression or baseness or majesty in a thing. For in man, actions often follow his wandering imagination (takhayyulat); and often they [actions] follow his opinion or knowledge; and quite often, his opinion or knowledge contradicts his imagining (takhayyul), so that his action would follow his imagining (takhayyul) and not his opinion or knowledge.

The purpose thus of statements that make imaginable (mukhayyila)(o) is to impel the listener towards doing that thing which has been imagined (khuyyil) to him in a certain matter (either making him seek it or avoid it, withdraw from it or detest it, or any other action of harm or charity) regardless of whether what has been imaginatively made to appear (yukhayyal) is true or not. Clearly, the matter depends on what has been imagined (khuyyil) and not on what is real. Similarly, if a man imitates something in what he is doing, he might do that by which he imitates himself, or he might also do that which imitates what is similar to the object of imitation: perhaps he sculpted a statue imitating Zaid and then made a mirror in which he saw the statue of Zaid. We, perhaps, may not know Zaid but see his statue and thus recognize him by what imitates him and not by his own reflection. Furthermore, we may not have seen a statue of Zaid himself but see a reflection of his statue in the mirror, then we would have known him by that which imitates what imitates him. We would thus be twice removed from his reality.

This fits exactly with statements of imitation. For these statements may be constructed of things that imitate the matter itself; or of what imitate the things which imitate the matter itself, and of what imitate those things by imitation, thus, statements of imitation create a distance of many degrees from the matter. In a similar vein, the imagining (takhayyul) of the thing by those statements [of imitation] leads to the same distance.

A thing is made imaginable (yutakhayyal) by what imitates it without the mediation [of anything], and it is made imaginable (yutakhayyal) by the mediation of one or two things depending on the statement which imitates the thing. Many people find that the imitation of a thing by that which is farthest from it is better and more complete than imitating it by that which is nearest. They view the maker of such statements as more deserving of imitation and better at its craft and orientation."


Words in square brackets are added in the translation for clarification. They do not appear in the Arabic text.

There are two manuscripts of this treatise: the first was published by Muhsin Mahdi from MS 812 in the Hamidiyya Library in Istanbul and appeared in "Kitab-u-shi'r," Shi'r 3 (1959): 90-95. The second manuscript was published by Mohammad Saleem Salem from the University Library of Bratislava in (the former) Czechoslovakia and appeared in Talkhees Kitah Aristotaless fi-Shi'r ... wa ma'ahu Jawami u-Shi'r lil-Farabi (Cairo: Matabi' al-Ahram At-tijariyya, 1971) 171-175. Salem did not acknowledge Mahdi's earlier text.

There are a few textual differences between Mahdi's and Salem's versions -- although they differ widely in punctuation and paragraphing because of Salem's attempt to make the text comply with modem Arabic rules. I shall only refer, therefore, to textual differences which have a bearing on the meaning. (a.) Salem has the masculine "yaseer" while Mahdi has the feminine "taseer".

(b.) Cantarino used "phonetic compounds" for this term.

(c.) While translating from Ibn Rushd, Butterworth used "argument" for this term: see Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, trans. Charles E. Butterworth (Princeton: Princeton U P, 1983), "Arabic-English Glossary"; Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric, " and "Poetics", trans. Charles E. Butterworth (Albany: SUNY P, 1977), "Technical Terms Used by Averroes." Cantarino has "discourse/statement."

(d.) Salem has "sulamiyyat"; Mahdi has "sullabat".

(e.) In prosody, sabab (plural asbab) is a phonetic construction of two letters in which both letters have short vowels, or in which one has a short vowel and the other does not (or has instead the silenting diacritical mark -- sukoon).

(f.) in prosody, watad (plural awtad) is a phonetic construction of three letters in which either the second or the third letter has a sukoon.

(g.) Butterworth has "multitude."

(h.) Mahdi has "Homerosh"; Salem has "Homeros". Mahdi notes that Arabic writers always referred to Homer as "Homerosh."

(i.) Mahdi has the singular; Salem has the plural, "ashya"'.

(j.) Salem has "khutabiyya" which Mahdi includes in his notes.

(k.) "that is to make the statement", not in Salem.

(l.) Butterworth has "imaginative representation"; Cantarino has "imaginative creation.

(m.) The passage is similar to another in The Catalogue of the Sciences: "similar to what happens when we observe an object resembling another which we loathe. For then we right away imagine this object to be something we loathe, and our spirit feels repelled from it, and thus we avoid it, even if we are certain that it is not in reality as it appears to us," cited in Cantarino, 116.

(n.) Salem has the feminine, "tukhayyil."

(o.) It is surprising that Butterworth translates the same term in Ibn Rushd as "imitation": Averroes' Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, 60 and 63n.

(p.) The following postscript appears only in the Salem version: "The treatise is finished. The Treatise on Poetry is completed, and with its completion all of the book of Abu Nasr [Alfarabi] (may God rest his soul) is completed. To Him who creates the intellect, praise be given without desire for recompense and gratitude without end. [The book was completed) by the hand of the poorest of men who seeks God's forgiveness Ahmad Ibn Ali Ashami, may God grant him mercy. Amen. On the morning of Saturday the 18th of the good month of Safar in the year one thousand and hundred and sixteen in Constantinople [1705 C.E.], may God protect it and preserve it from all evil. Praise be to God alone, and God's blessings on the Prophet after whom there are no prophets, and blessings unlimited on his family and companions."


(1) Mansour Ajami, The Alchemy of Glory: The Dialectic of Truthfulness and Untruthfulness in Medieval Arabic Literary Criticism (Washington: Three Continents Press, 1988), 62- 64; Vicente Cantarino, Arabic Poetics in the Golden Age (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 80-85 and the final unit of the introduction; Salim Kemal, The Poetics of Alfarabi and Avicenna Leiden: Brill, 1991), 89-104. See also Parviz Morewedge, The Metaphysics of Avicenna (ibn Sina) (New York: Columbia U P, 1973), 321-324.

(2) Von Wolfhart Heinrichs, "Die antike Verknupfung von Phantasia und Dichtung bei den Arabern," Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, 128 (1978): 252-298.

(3) Very little attention has been paid to the Treatise: see Heinrichs, 252-255 and his reference to Christof Burgel. Neither Cantarino nor Ismail M. Dahiyat in his extensive study of Alfarabi's influence on Avicenna used the text: Avicenna's Commentary on the Poetics of Aristotle (Leiden: Brill, 1974).

(4) For an edition of this text, see Abdul Rahman Badawi, Aristotalees, fann-u-Shi'r (Beirut: Dar-u-Thaqafa, 1953), 85-145.

(5) See the edition by M. C. Lyons, An Arabic Translation of Themistius Commentaty on Aristoteles De Anima (Columbia, South Carolina: U of South Carolina P, 1973).

(6) See the Arabic text in Badawi, Aristotalees, fann-u-shir, 149-158 and the translation in Cantarino, Arabic Poetics 109-116.

(7) See Al-Farabi on The Perfect State, ed. and trans. Richard Walzer (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1985) 385, n 385.

(8) Themistius, ed. Lyons 212-213.

(9) Luqa in Aristotalees fi-nafs 164: "al-khayal fa-huwa a-shai'ul-ladhi yanjalibu ilayhi bi-takhyeel al-bat'il," ed. Abdul Rahman Badawi (Cairo: Maktabat-u Nahda al Misriyya, 1954).

(10) Ibid. 162.

(11) Ajami, The Alchemy of Glory 63.

(12) Hunayn in Aristotalees, fi-nafs 70: "akthar u-tawahhum batil."

(13) Ibid. 77. See however Hunayn's translation of Aristotalees: a-Tabia, ed. Abdul Rahman Badawi (Cairo: Ad-dar al-Qawmiyya lil-Tiba'a wal-Nashr, 1964) 324 where "yuwahhim" and "yukhayyil" are used and where the former suggests falsity.

(14) See for instance Qusta bin Luqa's translation of Plutarch in Aristotalees fi-nafs. 163.

(15) Ibid. 69.

(16) Themistius, ed. Lyons 162.

(17) The Perfect State 164.

(18) Cantarino, Arabic Poetics 74-99; Ajami, The Alchemy of Glory 63.

(19) Alfarabi, Kitab ul-huruf ed. Muhsin Mahdi (Beir-ut: Dar ul-Mashriq, 1970) 177.

(20) Kemal, The Poetics of Alfarabi and Avicenna 95.

(21) Ibid. 99.

(22) Aristotalees, fann-u-sbir 162. See the translation of and commentary on this treatise in Ismail M. Dahiyat, Avicenna's Commentary on the Poetics of Aristotle.

(23) Averroes' Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle's "Topics," "Rhetoric," and "Poetics", ed. Charles E. Butterworth (Albany: SUNY P, 1977) 203-206.

(24) See Talkhees kitab Aristotalees fi-shir in Badawi, Aristotalees, fann-u-shi'r 201 ff.

(25) Murray Wright Bundy, The Theory of Imagination in Classical and Medieval Thought (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1927) 212 n.


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Author:Matar, Nabil
Publication:College Literature
Date:Feb 1, 1996
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