Khamriyya as a World Poetic Genre: Comparative Perspectives on Wine Poetry in Near and Middle Eastern Literatures


Dr Kirill Dmitriev and Dr Christine van Ruymbeke

Main Objectives 

The project is a collaborative initiative of the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. It aims at exploring the history of wine poetry in various Near and Middle Eastern literatures from its origins in the sixth century up until the early modern period.

Khamriyya represents along with ghazal a major form of poetic expression in various literary traditions including Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopian, Armenian, Georgian and Ottoman Turkish. Historical diversity and aesthetic versatility of khamriyya defined its development over many centuries in different cultural, religious and social contexts. In order to reveal the richness and importance of khamriyya as a world poetic genre, the initiative applies a comparative approach, which helps understand the transformations of the genre throughout different periods of literary history and across diverse cultural and linguistic milieus.


The initiative was conducted in 2014 – 2017 in form of lecture series, research workshops in St Andrews and Cambridge, and a conference in Beirut. The proceedings are forthcoming in the series Beiruter Texte und Studien (Ergon).

The initiative was supported by the  ERC Starting Grant within the project ‘Language, Philology, Culture: Arab Cultural Semantics in Transition’ (, the Honeyman Foundation (St Andrews) and various research funding at FAMES (Cambridge).


Dr Kirill Dmitriev
Lecturer in Arabic
School of Modern Languages
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building, Union Street
St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9PH
Scotland, United Kingdom

Dr Christine van Ruymbeke
Fellow and Praelector of Darwin College
Soudavar Senior Lecturer in Persian
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue,
Cambridge CB3 9DA U.K.