Publication

  • Nasir-i Khusraw was a major figure in medieval Persian culture. This Muslim philosopher, poet, traveller and Ismaili da’i, who lived a thousand years ago in the lands today known as Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan, is consistently ranked by Persian speakers as one of the finest poets in their language.

    Yet, in the West, where he is known largely for his Safar-nama (travelogue), describing his seven-year journey from Khurasaninfo-icon, in the eastern Islamic lands, to Cairo, the city of the Fatimid caliphinfo-icon-imams, his poetry and ideas are less familiar. Even among those who know the poet’s work, few understand the concepts he expounds, as the genre of philosophical poetry in Persian remains mostly unexplored. As the first Western study of Persian philosophical poetry, this volume seeks to redress the balance.

    Written by authorities on Nasir-i Khusraw and Persian literature, and originally presented as papers at a conference at SOAS, University of London, the chapters here cover topics ranging from metaphysics, cosmology and ontology, to prophecy, rhythm and structure, the analysis of individual poems and the matter of authorship.

    Rigorous literary analysis of several complete major poems advances the field of Persian Studies beyond investigating what a poem means to how it is constructed and how poetic technique and philosophy can be combined to create masterpieces.

    This volume therefore represents the initiation of important studies in the genre of Persian philosophical poetry.

  •  

    List of Contributors

    ix

     

    Note on Transliteration and Abbreviations

    x

     

    Editor’s Introduction: Nasir-i Khusraw and Philosophical Poetry

    Alice C. Hunsberger

    xi

         

    I

    Speech and Intellect

     

    1.

    The Position of ʿAql in the Prose and Poetry of Nasir-i Khusraw

    Faquir Muhammad Hunzai

    3

    2.

    Ontological and Religious Aspects of the Intellect in Nasir-i Khusraw’s Poetry

    M. J. Esmaeili

    29

    3.

    ‘I Am a Mine of Golden Speech’: Poetic Language and Self-Reference in Nasir-i Khusraw’s Qasidas

    Daniel Rafinejad

    39

    4.

    Nasir-i Khusraw’s Ode to the Universal Soul and Intellect

    Leonard Lewisohn

    53

         

    II

    Philosophical Poetry: Enlightening the Soul

     

    5.

    Nasir-i Khusraw, Imagination, Prophecy and the Poetics of

    Enlightenment

    Mohammad Azadpur

    73

    6.

    Nasir-i Khusraw’s Poetics of the Moral Journey and the

    Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

    Mehdi Aminrazavi

    91

    7.

    The Rawshanaʾi-nama and the Older Iranian Cosmogony

    Mohsin Zakeri

    103

         

    III

    Nasir-Khusraw’s Poetics

     

    8.

    Also a Poet

    Michael Beard

    119

    9.

    Hearing by Way of Seeing: Zaban-i hal in Nasir-i Khusraw’s Poetry

    and the Question of Authorship of the Rawshanaʾi-nama

    Nasrollah Pourjavady

    133

    10.

    ‘On the Steed of Speech’: A Philosophical Poem by Nasir-i Khusraw

    Alice C. Hunsberger

    147

    11.

    Symbolic Structure in a Poem by Nasir-i Khusraw

    Julie Scott Meisami

    191

    12.

    Rhythm in Nasir-i Khusraw’s Poems

    Finn Thiesen

    209

    13.

    Nasir-i Khusraw: A Poet Lost in Thought?

    Julie Scott Meisami

    223

         
     

    Appendix: Three Qasidas in the Persian script

    257

     

    Bibliography

    275

     

    Index

    279

     

  • Dr. C Alice Hunsberger

    English
    Dr Hunsberger received her doctorate in Middle East Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 1992, specialising in Persian and Arabic literatures. She has taught courses dealing with aspects of Islam as well as on the history of science at various universities in Iran and the USA, including Arya Mehr University of Technology in Isfahan, Iran and Hunter College, The City University of New York. Dr Hunsberger is the author of Nasir Khusraw, The Ruby of Badakhshan: A Portrait of the Persian Poet, Traveller and Scholar (London, 2000), and has contributed numerous papers to academic...Read more

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