Dabashi, Hamid. 2019. The Shahnameh: the Persian epic in world literature. New York: Columbia University Press.
The Shahnameh, an epic poem recounting the foundation of Iran across mythical, heroic, and historical ages, is the beating heart of Persian literature and culture. Composed by Abu al-Qasem Ferdowsi over a thirty-year period and completed in the year 1010, the epic has entertained generations of readers and profoundly shaped Persian culture, society, and politics. For a millennium, Iranian and Persian-speaking people around the globe have read, memorized, discussed, performed, adapted, and loved the poem.
In this book, Hamid Dabashi brings the Shahnameh to renewed global attention, encapsulating a lifetime of learning and teaching the Persian epic for a new generation of readers. Dabashi insightfully traces the epic’s history, authorship, poetic significance, complicated legacy of political uses and abuses, and enduring significance in colonial and postcolonial contexts. In addition to explaining and celebrating what makes the Shahnameh such a distinctive literary work, he also considers the poem in the context of other epics, such as the Aeneid and the Odyssey, and critical debates about the concept of world literature. Arguing that Ferdowsi’s epic and its reception broached this idea long before nineteenth-century Western literary criticism, Dabashi makes a powerful case that we need to rethink the very notion of “world literature” in light of his reading of the Persian epic.
About the Author
Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. Among his most recent books are The World of Persian Literary Humanism (2015) and Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene (2016).
van den Berg, Gabrielle (ed.). 2017. Shahnama Studies III: The Reception of the Shahnama. Leiden: Brill.
Shahnama Studies III focuses on the hugely successful afterlife of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, completed by the poet Firdausi around 1010 AD. This long epic grew out to be an icon of Persian culture and served as a source of inspiration for art and literature, leaving its traces in manifold ways. The contributors to this volume each treat an aspect of the rich legacy of the Shahnama and offer new insights in Shahnama manuscript studies, the illustration of the Shahnama, the phenomenon of later epics, and the Shahnama in later texts and contexts. Continue reading Shahnama Studies III
Cristoforetti, Simone (ed.). 2017. Shahnameh Il Libro dei Re. Testo Poetico Persiano Dell’edizione Turner Macan. Italo Pizzi.
The first integral reprint of the Persian text of Abu ‘l-Qasem Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh printed in Calcutta (1829), published along its Italian poetic translation by the reknown iranologist Italo Pizzi (Turin, 1886-1888).
The Italinan translation is annotated by S. Cristoforetti (University of Venice) with reference to the critic edition of the Shahname by Dj. Khaleghi Motlagh. The editorial project is under the supervision of Prof. G. Scarcia (University of Venice) and undertaken in collaboration with the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.
Askari, Nasrin. 2016. The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes (Studies in Persian Cultural History 9) Leiden; Boston: Brill.
Nasrin Askari explores the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Through her examination of a wide range of medieval sources, Askari demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites. In order to illustrate the ways in which the Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, Askari analyses the account about Ardashīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, as an ideal king in the Shāhnāma. Within this context, she explains why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr.
Nasrin Askari, PhD, (2012), University of Toronto, has completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, and will be working on her next project at the University of Oxford as a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book.
Ghazanfari, Kolsoum. 2015. Ferdowsi’s Presentation of Zoroastrianism in an Islamic Light, Journal of Persianate Studies 8 (1). 23 – 41.
Composed in 10th and 11th century ce, the Shāhnāmeh (The Book of the Kings) contains Iranian ancient history since the first king, Gayumart/Kayumars, up to the end of Sasanian era. One reason behind its popularity is the poet’s method and art in describing and explaining ancient religious elements in such a way that it does not cause religious bias among Zoroastrians and Muslims. This article shows that Ferdowsi has employed various methods to read religious issues of ancient Iran in the light of the social, cultural, and religious spirit of his own time. In his epic narratives, Ferdowsi paid serious attention to contemporary beliefs and social conditions, and this can account for the popularity of the Shāhnāmeh and its lasting influence.
Mahalati, Mohammad Jafar Amir. 2015. Ethics of War and Peace in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, Iranian Studies. 48(6), 905-931.
This article provides an overview of the ethics of war and peace in the most important and normatively influential work of epic literature known in the eastern lands of Islam, namely the shahnameh of Ferdowsi (d. 1020 CE). As one of the greatest sources of the Iranian cultural identity for over a millennium, Shahnameh (lit. The book of kings) defines normative ideals in the ethics of war and peace within narratives that connect the ancient history of Iran to its mythical eras and in effect to both the medieval time of the epic’s authorship and modern Iranian identity. By identifying limits, standards and legitimacy for war and peace in Shahnameh, this article aims to facilitate an Iranian contribution to the global literature and practice on peacemaking that has deep roots in the Islamo-Persian tradition.
The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature
Iranian Studies, volume 48, Number 3, May 2015. Special issue: “The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature”
The special issue of the Journal of Iranian Studies, guest-edited by Franklin Lewis is dedicated to studies on Shahname within a “world literature” framework.
Iranian Studies is a peer reviewed journal of history, literature, culture and society, covering everywhere with a Persian or Iranian legacy, especially Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and northern India.
Continue reading The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature
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.