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An Unknown Illuminated Judeo-Persian Manuscript of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn

Khosrow Discovers Shīrīn Bathing, From Pictorial Cycle of Eight Poetic Subjects, mid 18th century. Brooklyn Museum.

Carmeli, Orit. 2021. An Unknown Illuminated Judeo-Persian Manuscript of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn. Ars Judaica. The Bar Ilan Journal of Jewish Art 17(1). 131–140.

This is a brief presentation of the mid-seventeenth-century illuminated Judeo-Persian copy of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn from the collection of the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. The Khamsa of Nizāmī Ganjavi (d. 1209) is one of the most famous medieval Persian love stories and one of the most admired poetical works ever written in the Persian language. Khosrow and Shīrīn (composed 1175/6-1191) is the second book in the Quinary and recounts the tragic love story of the Sasanian king Khosrow II Parviz and the Armenian princess Shīrīn. Nizāmī’s poetry, in addition to other works of Persian classical masters, was regarded by the Jews of Iran as an integral part of their literary and cultural heritage. Over the years these renowned poetical works were largely transliterated into Judeo-Persian and copies of the texts can be found in various public and private collections. The manuscript in question and other illuminated Judeo-Persian manuscripts clearly testify to their owners and patrons’ awareness of long-established Persian artistic tradition and cultural conventions, representing Jewish-Persian encounter in text and image.

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Books

Faster than the Arrow of Ārash: the Long Journey of the Narratives in Iran

Norozi, Nahid (ed.). 2021. Come la freccia di Ārash: il lungo viaggio della narrazione in Iran : forme e motivi dalle origini all’epoca contemporanea (atti del V CoBIran, 22-23 ottobre 2020) (Indo-iranica et orientalia). Milano: Mimesis Edizioni.

The narrative in the multi-millennial Iranian culture has taken many forms in prose and verse and, just as the famous arrow of the Iranian hero-archer Ārash – which according to the myth covered an unusual space flying from the Alborz mountains south of the Caspian Sea to Marv in Central Asia – comes to us miraculously traveling beyond all boundaries in space and time, because the word is “faster in traveling than the arrow of Ārash”. The present volume contains the articles, presented at the “V Convegno Bolognese diIranistica (V CoBIran)” dedicated to “Forms and motives of narration in Iran, from the origins to the contemporary era”.

Table of Contents

1. Aliasghar Mohammadkhani: “Excursus sulla narratologia in Iran”

2. Antonio Clemente Domenico Panaino: “Ǝrəxša’s Death or Self-sacrifice: The Ancient Iranian Saga of the Archer”

3. Ezio Albrile: “Guerre tra Angeli e Demoni. Le origini dello gnosticismo tra Babilonia e Iran”

4. Paolo Ognibene: “L’iscrizione di Dario a Bīsutūn: al di l. dell’interpretazione storico-filologica”

5. Andrea Piras: “La luna di Mani e la luna di al-Moqannaʿ: miracoli carismatici e loro usi politici”

6. Gianfilippo Terribili: “Fabbricazione storiografica e definizione identitaria. La genesi della malvagia religione secondo i teologi zoroastriani (DkIII 227, 229, 288)”

7. Matteo Compareti: “Tipologie eroiche nell’arte narrativa sogdiana e nell’epica persiana: il caso di Rustam e di Isfandyār”

8. Simone Cristoforetti: “La storia del villaggio distrutto e poi riedificato nello Shāhnāma: un brano di polemistica antimazdakita?”

9. Francesco Omar Zamboni: ‘”Avicenna e l’allegoria filosofica – “Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān”’

10. Nahid Norozi: “Il “Vis e Rāmin” di Gorgāni e il “Bahman-nāme” di Irānshāh: aspetti intertestuali anche in relazione con il “Khosrow e Shirin” di Neẓāmi”

11. Carlo Saccone: “Forme della narrazione dell’Altro nelle lettere persiane, da Ferdowsi a Sa‘di e Nasimi”

12. Hasan Zolfagari: “Analisi narratologica del racconto “La Fata Verde e la Fata Gialla”

13. Fabio Tiddia: “Il motivo “qalandar” nella letteratura mistica persiana”

14. Maurizio Silvio Pistoso: “Guerre del Golfo in salsa safavide. I poemetti persiani dell’enigmatico “Qadri”

15. Stefano Pellò: “Atmosfere indo-persiane: cumulonembi, bolle e avatāra monsonici in Mīrzā ‘Abd al-Qādir Bīdil (1644-1720) e nella sua scuola”

16. Bianca Maria Filippini: “La “spaventosa Tehr.n”: alcune riflessioni sulla rappresentazione della citt. come metafora delle derive della modernit. in Iran”

17. Adone Brandalise: “Sguardo e narrazione nel cinema iraniano”

18. Faezeh Mardani: “Recente letteratura persiana sulla “guerra imposta” con particolare riferimento a tre romanzi tradotti in italiano”

19. Anna Vanzan: “La fortuna di un testo. In margine alle traduzioni de Il Pesciolino Nero di Samad Behrangi”

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Books

Persian Prose

Utas, Bo (ed.). 2021. Persian prose (A history of Persian literature V). London: I.B. Tauris.

Volume V of A History of Persian Literature presents a broad survey of Persian prose: from biographical, historiographical, and didactic prose, to scientific manuals and works of popular prose fiction. It analyzes the rhetorical devices employed by writers in different periods in their philosophical and political discourse; or when their aim is primarily to entertain rather than to instruct , the chapters describe different techniques used to transform old stories and familiar tales into novel versions to entice their audience.

Many of the texts in prose cited in the volume share a wealth of common lore and literary allusions with Persian poetry. Prose and poetry frequently appear on the same page in tandem. In different ways, therefore, this creative interplay demonstrates the perennial significance of intertextuality, from the earliest times to the present; and help us in the process to further our understanding and enhance our enjoyment of Persian literature in its different manifestations throughout history.

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Materials for a History of the Persian Narrative Tradition

Orsatti, Paola. 2019. Materials for a History of the Persian Narrative Tradition. Two Characters: Farhād and Turandot. Venezia: Ca’ Foscari.

This book gathers together two essays. The first deals with the origins of the character of Farhād, the unlucky lover of Shīrīn, who – in the Persian narrative tradition – digs a route through Mount Bīsutūn and accomplishes other admirable works. The essay suggests that Farhād, as we know him from long narrative poems, historical chronicles, and reports by geographers and travelers, is the issue of a conflation between the legendary character of the Master of Mount Bīsutūn and a historical personage, Farrahān, the general-in-chief of the Sasanid king Khusraw II Parvīz’s army (r. 590-628 EC), as this figure was re-elaborated in a number of later legends. 

The second essay identifies a character named ‘Būrān-dukht’ as the prototype from which Turandot, the heroine of the tale well-known in Europe from Puccini’s opera (1926), springs. Two historical personages, both called Būrān or Būrān-dukht, are relevant in this line of development: the first is the daughter of the Sasanid king Khusraw II Parvīz (r. 580-628 CE), who was queen of Persia for a short period (630-631 CE); the other is the daughter of Ḥasan b. Sahl, wife of Caliph al-Maʾmūn (813-833 CE).

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Books

Studies in Persian Language and Literature in Honour of Paola Orsatti

Maggi, Mauro, and Mohsen Ashtiany, eds. A turquoise coronet: Studies in Persian language and literature in honour of Paola Orsatti. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 2021.

Paola Orsatti is currently professor at La Sapienza University in Rome. In the course of a long and distinguished academic career combined with an impressive record of dedicated teaching, she has made significant contributions to the study of classical Persian poetry, its connections with pre-Islamic traditions, the history of the Persian language, and Islamic manuscripts. Along with a profile of the dedicatee and a comprehensive bibliography of her publications up to 2019, the volume contains eighteen papers by her colleagues, friends, and former students to celebrate her 65th birthday. The papers mirror her diverse research interests. They deal with a variety of themes relating to Persian literature from Middle Persian texts to twentieth-century poetry—approached philologically, historically, and critically—as well as to the history of Middle and New Persian and the dialects of Iran, and include significant Persian literary texts translated and edited for the first time in this volume.

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Books

The Judeo-Persian rendition of the Buddha biographies

Yasharpour, Dalia. 2021. The Prince and the Sufi: the Judeo-Persian rendition of the Buddha biographies (The Brill Reference Library of Judaism 62). Leiden: Brill.

The Prince and the Sufi is the literary composition of the seventeenth-century Judeo-Persian poet Elisha ben Shmūel. In The Prince and the Sufi: The Judeo-Persian Rendition of the Buddha Biographies, Dalia Yasharpour provides a thorough analysis of this popular work to show how the Buddha’s life story has undergone substantial transformation with the use of Jewish, Judeo-Persian and Persian-Islamic sources. The annotated edition of the text and the corresponding English translation are meticulous and insightful. This scholarly study makes available to readers an important branch in the genealogical tree of the Buddha Biographies.

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Books

Moses and Garšāsp

Ehsani Chombeli, Azadeh. 2020. Moses and Garšāsp, Ardašīr and Herod: Narratives of the Babylonian Talmud in their Iranian context (Zoroastrian Studies Series 5). Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers.

This book offers a comparative study between a number of Talmudic and Middle Persian narratives. The present work seeks first and foremost to examine Talmudic narratives in their Iranian context, and secondly to examine the Talmudic background of Iranian narratives where applicable.
The first and second chapters will offer an analysis of the alteration of historical and Biblical figures in the Bavli (the Babylonian Talmud) based on the influence of Iranian mythical and historical figures, while the third chapter will provide an account of how Iranists can learn from Talmudic studies. Here we suggest that a Talmudic narrative may have encouraged Zoroastrian priests to compose an extensive work of religious literature, namely the Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag, an idea which will be further explored in the appendix.

Azadeh Ehsani has a PhD in religion from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada (2018) and an MA in ancient languages and culture of Iran with a focus on Middle Persian (Pahlavi) from Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies University in Tehran, Iran (2005).

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Books

Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin before Nationalism

Kia, Mana. Persianate Selves: Memories of Place and Origin before Nationalism. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2020.

For centuries, Persian was the language of power and learning across Central, South, and West Asia, and Persians received a particular basic education through which they understood and engaged with the world. Not everyone who lived in the land of Iran was Persian, and Persians lived in many other lands as well. Thus to be Persian was to be embedded in a set of connections with people we today consider members of different groups. Persianate selfhood encompassed a broader range of possibilities than contemporary nationalist claims to place and origin allow. We cannot grasp these older connections without historicizing our conceptions of difference and affiliation.

Mana Kia sketches the contours of a larger Persianate world, historicizing place, origin, and selfhood through its tradition of proper form: adab. In this shared culture, proximities and similarities constituted a logic that distinguished between people while simultaneously accommodating plurality. Adab was the basis of cohesion for self and community over the turbulent eighteenth century, as populations dispersed and centers of power shifted, disrupting the circulations that linked Persianate regions. Challenging the bases of protonationalist community, Persianate Selves seeks to make sense of an earlier transregional Persianate culture outside the anachronistic shadow of nationalisms.

About the author

Mana Kia is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University.

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Books

Persian Lyric Poetry

Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). 2019. Persian lyric poetry in the classical era, 800-1500: Ghazals, panegyrics and quatrains (A History of Persian Literature 2). London: I.B. Tauris.

The second volume in this series presents the reader with an extensive study of some major genres of Persian poetry from the first centuries after the rise of Islam to the end of the Timurid era and the inauguration of Safavid rule in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The authors explore the development of poetic genres, from the panegyric (qaside), to short lyrical poems (ghazal), and the quatrains (roba’i), tracing the stylistic evolution of Persian poetry up to 1500 and examine the vital role of these poetic forms within the rich landscape of Persian literature.

A History of Persian Literature is a 20-volume authoritative survey reflects the stature and significance of Persian literature as the single most important accomplishment of the Iranian experience. It includes extensive, revealing examples with contributions by prominent scholars who bring a fresh critical approach to bear on this important topic.

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Books

The Empires of the Near East and India

Khafipour, Hani. 2019. The empires of the Near East and India: Source studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal literate communities. New York: Columbia University Press.

In the early modern world, the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal empires sprawled across a vast swath of the earth, stretching from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The diverse and overlapping literate communities that flourished in these three empires left a lasting legacy on the political, religious, and cultural landscape of the Near East and India. This volume is a comprehensive sourcebook of newly translated texts that shed light on the intertwined histories and cultures of these communities, presenting a wide range of source material spanning literature, philosophy, religion, politics, mysticism, and visual art in thematically organized chapters. Scholarly essays by leading researchers provide historical context for closer analyses of a lesser-known era and a framework for further research and debate. The volume aims to provide a new model for the study and teaching of the region’s early modern history that stands in contrast to the prevailing trend of examining this interconnected past in isolation.

Source: The Empires of the Near East and India | Columbia University Press