Towards understanding the nature of digression in the writings of al-Jaahiz: Few pages from the introductory chapter of Kitaab al-Bayaan wa al-Tabyeen, the book of eloquence and exposition as a model


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  • Dr. Muhammad Arshadul Hassan Associate Professor, Department of Arabic, University of Dhaka. Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh


digression, analysis, nature, writings of al-Jaahiz, kitaab al-Bayaan wa al-Tabyeen


The writing style of al-Jaahiz (d. 869 CE), one of the most successful and popular prose writers of Arab history, is sometimes pedagogically made questionable; for al-Jaahiz comparatively digresses to a great extent. Some literary critics hold that the aim of his digressions is nothing but to digress.  Is his digression a mere digression, void of art and therefore methodically disorganised? Is there any artistic scheme functional behind it? What does this style emanate from? To lay bare these facts, this article aims to grapple to find the answers to aforesaid questions and therefore a few pages from the introductory chapter of his famous work on Arabic rhetoric titled kitaab al-Bayaan wa al-Tabyeen are chosen as a model; for style and stylistics are both closely connected to rhetoric. Accordingly, this article is divided into 5 sections: first, an introduction; second, the concept of digression and its rhetorical merits; third, the source, aim and framework of digression in al-Jaahiz’s works; fourth, an analysis of text extracted from the book al-Bayaan wa al-Tabyeen to discern the nature of this stylistic device along with its artistic underpinning; and, finally, a conclusion containing the findings. The article follows inductive and qualitative methods to obtain its results. Foremost among these results is that there is an underlying chain pattern in his digressions. It is hoped that this research would benefit all those who are involved in the studies of style and stylistics, in general, and in the writing style of al-Jaahiz, in particular.


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Published On: 2022-10-16

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Hassan, D. M. A. (2022). Towards understanding the nature of digression in the writings of al-Jaahiz: Few pages from the introductory chapter of Kitaab al-Bayaan wa al-Tabyeen, the book of eloquence and exposition as a model. Sprin Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 1(04), 01–14.