Muhammed ibn Dawud: The Man of Our Times

Jennifer Tobkin discusses Muhammad ibn Dawud al-Isfahani (d. 297/909), compiler of an anthology of poetry called Kitab al-Zahra ("The Book of the Flower") and author of some 500 lines of poetry in it as well as commentary on poems by other poets. Ibn Dawud is arguably more famous for the legend that he died from love for a male friend than for any of his own writings. As early as the 11th century, biographical dictionaries such as Ta'rikh Baghdad told the story of Ibn Dawud's writing those poems of his which appear in Kitab al-Zahra for a man who did not reciprocate Ibn Dawud's feelings for him and eventually dying from this unrequited love.