Tag Archives: Literature

Persian Literature from the Constitutional Period to Reza Shah

Seyed-Gohrab, Ali-Asghar (ed.). 2015. Literature of the early twentieth century: From the constitutional period to Reza Shah. (A History of Persian Literature XI). London: Tauris.
The eleventh volume in this groundbreaking series pays special attention to politically engaged poetry, written during a turbulent period which saw the Constitutional Revolution in Iran as well as the rise to power of Reza Shah and his attempts to implement reform. Throughout this time, poets began to turn their attention towards the country’s ordinary people, rather than concentrate on its elites.  This volume also examines the prose fiction of the period, which saw the rise of the novel and the short story. Additionally, Persian satire began to grow in importance, especially with the increased popularity of poets and novelists such as Iraj Mirza and Sadeq Hedayat. This wide-ranging volume is an invaluable companion for anyone who wants to understand how the Persian literary scene changed at the beginning of the twentieth century, reflecting the social and political contexts in which this literature was created.
About the Editor:
A.A. (Asghar) Seyed-Gohrab is associate professor of Persian and Iranian Studies at Leiden University.

A Zoroastrian Doubt-dispelling Exposition

ŠGV Asha 2015

Asha, Raham (ed.). 2015. šak-ud-gumānīh-vizār. The Doubt-removing book of Mardānfarrox. Paris: Ermān.

The ŠGV is a treatise in which the author intends to present the arguments to refute in detail the alien schools and sects, establish the teaching of the two principles, and lead us to believe the veracity of the Religion, Daēnā Māzdayasni, and that of the teachings of the old Aryan guides, the Paoiryō.t̰kaēša. The complete original Pārsīg text is irretrievably lost, and we only possess its transcription into Pāzand (the vernacular Pārsī language written in Dēn-dibīrīh) and its translation into Sanskrit, made by the Pārsī high-priest Neryōsang Dhaval. Continue reading A Zoroastrian Doubt-dispelling Exposition

Ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism

Ahmadi, Amir. 2015. The Daēva cult in the Gāthās: An ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism (Iranian Studies 24). New York, NY: Routledge.

Addressing the question of the origins of the Zoroastrian religion, this book argues that the intransigent opposition to the cult of the daēvas, the ancient Indo-Iranian gods, is the root of the development of the two central doctrines of Zoroastrianism: cosmic dualism and eschatology (fate of the soul after death and its passage to the other world).

The daēva cult as it appears in the Gāthās, the oldest part of the Zoroastrian sacred text, the Avesta, had eschatological pretentions. The poet of the Gāthās condemns these as deception. The book critically examines various theories put forward since the 19th century to account for the condemnation of the daēvas. It then turns to the relevant Gāthic passages and analyzes them in detail in order to give a picture of the cult and the reasons for its repudiation. Finally, it examines materials from other sources, especially the Greek accounts of Iranian ritual lore (mainly) in the context of the mystery cults. Classical Greek writers consistently associate the nocturnal ceremony of the magi with the mysteries as belonging to the same religious-cultural category. This shows that Iranian religious lore included a nocturnal rite that aimed at ensuring the soul’s journey to the beyond and a desirable afterlife.

Challenging the prevalent scholarship of the Greek interpretation of Iranian religious lore and proposing a new analysis of the formation of the Hellenistic concept of ‘magic,’ this book is an important resource for students and scholars of History, Religion and Iranian Studies.

For ToC and haveing a look inside the book see here.

About the Author:

Amir Ahmadi is an Adjunct Researcher at the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University. He has published in Philosophy, History of Religions and Iranian Studies.

From Old to New Persian

Utas, Bo. 2013. From Old to New Persian: Collected essays (Beiträge Zur Iranistik 38). Edited by Carina Jahani & Mehrdad Fallahzadeh. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

In a long series of essays, written during almost half a century, Bo Utas analyses the development of West Iranian languages, particularly Old, Middle, and New Persian, from various perspectives. The focus is placed on the transition from Middle to New Persian and the final essays (hitherto partly unpublished) especially elucidate this process in the light of an interaction between oral and written language.
This book is the second volume of collected articles by Bo Utas. The first volume, Manuscript, Text and Literature. Collected Essays on Middle and New Persian Texts, was published on the occasion of his 70th birthday as no. 29 in the series Beiträge zur Iranistik in 2008.
The seventeen articles in the present volume cover a time span of about 2,500 years and encompass all the stages of Persian. It also contains two entirely new articles, “The Grammatical Transition from Middle to New Persian” and “Between Spoken and Written: The Formation of New Persian”, which sum up much of Bo Utas’ philological research.

For more information, see the preface to this volume and the ToC.
Continue reading From Old to New Persian

The comprehensive history of Iran

Mousavi-Bojnourdi, Kazem (General Editor). 2015. The comprehensive history of Iran. 20. Vols. Tehran: The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia.

The Comprehensive History of Iran, a multi-volume survey of Iranian history in Persian language is published by The Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia (CGIE). The twenty volumes cover the history and historical geography, politic, culture and arts of the greater Iran, including all territories inhabited by or staying under the cultural influence of peoples of Iranian descent , from prehistoric times up to the Qajar dynasty. Many aspects of the religious, philosophical, economic, scientific, and artistic elements in Iranian civilization are studied in this series.

For more information, see the official website and the list of the contributors and the detailed Table of Contents (all in Persian).

The series consists of 20 volumes: Continue reading The comprehensive history of Iran

A reader in Modern Persian

Delshad, Farshid. 2015. Textbuch modernes Persisch. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

The Textbook Modern Persian contains thirty selected readings about contemporary Iran from various disciplinary perspectives including: literature, philosophy, theology, mysticism, society, politics, history, geography, sports, cuisine, mythology and computational linguistics. Each chapter of the book includes an introduction to the topic, a rating of the complexity of the text (from A2 to C2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), the philological acquisition of lexical fields within the chapter, and a selected bibliography of additional material on the subject matter. The text also includes a concise trilingual glossary (Persian-German-English), a conjugation sample, a detailed list of all common infinitives in Modern Persian, and English abstracts for each of the thirty textbook units. This book is ideal for students taking Persian language courses, as well as for anyone interested in contemporary Persian language, literature and culture.

For more information read the preface to this volume and a sample chapter as well as see the ToC.
About the author:
Farshid Delshad received his PhD in Historical Comparative Linguistics from the German University of Friedrich-Schiller. He is currently working in Germany and in the United States as an associate scholar for Languages and Cultures of the Muslim World.

The Kurdish Šāhnāma

Chaman Ara, Behrooz. The Kurdish Šāhnāma and Its Literary and Religious Implications. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

The Kurdish Shanama and its Literary and Religious Implications, as the result of a long-time fieldwork in the cultural spans of Zagros, focuses on the newly survived epic-heroic narratives known as Razm-nama, Jang-nama or Shanama. In this work, author draws attention to the existence of an unexpectedly rich epic-heroic tradition in literary Gurani (a composite idiom used in the Zagros regions) and strongly suggest that this tradition is largely independent of the Ferdowsi’s Shahnama but has many common features with other works of the Sistani cycle of epics and the Persian Naqqali tradition. This work addresses the structural and contextual similarities and differences between this tradition and its counterparts in Persian literature, and subsequently proposes a new understanding of the term Shahnama and the term Xwadaynamag. In this work, Chaman Ara, challenges the common understandings of the concept of Gurani, and presents analysis and descriptions of some linguistic features of the theory of Gurani literary language.
See here for the ToC and the Preface to this volume.
Behrooz Chaman Ara received his PhD in 2014 from the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Georg-August University of Göttingen. His research focuses on the Kurdish languages, literature and cultures.

Zoroastrianism: History, rituals, theology and tradition

Kreyenbroek, Philip G. 2013. Teachers and teachings in the Good Religion: Opera minora on Zoroastrianism (Göttinger Orientforschungen, Iranica, NF 10). Edited by Kianoosh Rezania. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

The volume edited by Kioanoosh Rezania brings together seventeen articles by Philip Kreyenbroek on the subject of Zoroastrianism. The collection represents the author’s most important short contributions on that subject, written over a period of more than 30 years. Although the papers are concerned with a range of different subjects, they are to some extent interconnected, and in several cases one may find lines of argument emerging in one article which the author develops in subsequent papers.
The papers cover six important aspects of Zoroastrianism: History; the Zoroastrian tradition and its oral transmission; Cosmology, Cosmogony and Eschatology; Priesthood; and Ritual. Topics discussed there include the history of the Zoroastrian tradition in various periods; the mainly oral nature of the Zoroastrian religious tradition until well into the Islamic period, and some of the implications of this for our understanding of that tradition; Kreyenbroek’s views and hypotheses on the nature and origin of the Indo-Iranian and Zoroastrian cosmogonies; the various developments in the structure of the priesthood, particularly during and after the Sasanian period; and lastly various questions concerning the Zoroastrian ritual, which are informed by the author’s extraordinary familiarity with the Zoroastrian ritual literature.

Continue reading Zoroastrianism: History, rituals, theology and tradition

Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)

 Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond. 2014. Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen: (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch)(Sitzungsberichte / Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse 850. Grammatica Iranica, Band 1). Wien: Verlag der Österr. Akad. der Wissenschaften.
Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
For more information see the Tables of Contents of  this book.
About the Author:
Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst  is the head of the long-term project “Turfanforschung” at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Professor of Iranian Studies at the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.