Forever Under Construction

Persian Literature & The West – I

Posted in Iran, Literature, Persian, Persian literature by homeyra on November 11, 2006

I was surprised to find an entry on Persian poetry in reclaiming space. I though it might be interesting to make a few posts on the subject. Persian literature has had influences on many writers and cultures outside of its boundaries.

When Goethe became acquainted with Hafez’s Diwan he wrote “Suddenly I came face to face with the celestial perfume of the East and invigorating breeze of Eternity that was being blown from the plains and the wastelands of Persia, and I came to know an extraordinary man whose personality completely fascinated me”.

Fredric Nietzsche says: 0 Hafez thou hast built a tavern of philosophy which is mightier than any other palace in the world, and in it, thou hast prepared a wine full of sweet words that surpasses the power of a world to drink. Who can be the guest in thy tavern but the mythological Simurgh?”

The late Professor Edward G. Browne believes that “the epic, lyric, didactic, mystic, satiric, or pessimist poets of Iran such as Firdowsi, Hafez, Sa’adi, Nasir-Khusrow, Attar, Jallal ad-Din Balkhi (Rumi); Ubayd-i-Zakani, and Omar Khayyam, each in his own different way appeals to some ground common to all mankind“. And these are the ones that are known best, outside Iran. He calls Iranians “the most ancient, gifted and original peoples of the world“… he write elsewhere about “an altogether inadequate judgment of the intellectual activity of that ingenius and talented people.

I am only quoting! :)

Sources: Wikipedia, Iranica, Mihan Foundation to be continued

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7 Responses

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  1. [...] Sources : see part 1 [...]

  2. Curtis said, on November 12, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    Goethe certainly was one of the earliest artistic figures of Europe to appreciate the wealth of Eastern contributions to science and literature. Sir William Jones, an English linguist, was in the mid-18th Century the first European to establish the common ancestry of European and Indo-Persian languages.

    A relatively homogenous Persian culture predates the arrival of Islam by, quite conservatively, at least a thousand years. Only the core cultures of India and China rival it in longevity and cultural wealth. There is certainly nothing west of the Bosphorous which can compare with it in these terms.

  3. homeyra said, on November 12, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Hi C, I started these posts on Persian Literature not to talk about “the glorious past” etc. I rather believe there is a (more or less) unique point of view, from which we – I – can draw some “sanity”.
    I don’t intend to be didactic. I thought an emphasis on some common ground – relation to the West – can facilitate this approach. I am learning my self while gathering all that. I will try to describe what, in my opinion, is a wisdom which still gives us -“Persians”- the best of what we have.

  4. [...] See also Part I, Part II [...]

  5. m.idrees said, on February 20, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you for this education. I must confess, I remain embarrassingly ignorant of Iran’s great literary heritage. I was considering picking some of the names from Dabashi’s article and exploring further.

    Hopefully when things calm down a little, I will have the peace of mind to delve more into literature.

  6. homeyra said, on February 20, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Welcome Idrees, infact I am educating myself through this blog and sharing it with who likes to do so.
    You have a very interesting blog, thank you for it and for your visit.

  7. [...] Part V, sources in Part I 7 comments « Untitled Newsha [...]


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