This article focuses on the importance of verbal art, especially proverbs, and its contribution to a more profound understanding of Yemeni society, particularly key historical figures such as ʿAlī bin Zāyid. The Yemeni scholar and poet ʿAbd Allāh al-Baraddūnī (1929–1999), who compiled a large corpus of folk sayings and proverbs over his lifetime, played a significant role in this regard. In particular, al-Baraddūnī scrutinizes the folk sayings and proverbs of ʿAlī bin Zāyid as a source of narratives. As highlighted by al-Baraddūnī, to obtain a more nuanced understanding of a society, it is crucial to look beyond the formal production of history and official literature. Proverbs are an important source here. They often derive from longer stories or refer to real events and provide local, culturally appropriate interpretations in highly condensed form. In turn, proverbs are often extended into longer narratives. The study of popular fables, songs, folk poems, and proverbs can provide an insight into local, culturally transmitted knowledge that is usually obscured, neglected, and undocumented.
"Verbal Art as a Route into Local Knowledge in Yemen: The Work of ʿAbd Allāh al-Baraddūnī on ʿAlī bin Zāyid,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 9:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol9/iss1/4