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The Age of Beloveds: Inflections of Desire in Persian and Ottoman Literature

Requirements: 
WAY-A-II
243
Subject: 
COMPLIT

This course follows the trajectory of Islamicate love poetry from its emergence in medieval Persian letters to the court of the Ottoman Sultans. Our point of departure will be the emergence of a unique doctrine of love in Persian literature between the 11th and the 14th centuries, from the confluence of courtly, romantic and mystical ideas. Tracing the gradual imbrication of sacred and profane desire, we will study the advice on marital love in early Mirrors for Princes, the exaltation of heterosexual love in romances, the recasting of love in the context of a mystical erotology, and, finally, the enduring legacy of this discourse of love in ghazal poetry. We will then explore the theme of love, oscillating between heterosexual, homoerotic, and mystical in Ottoman lyric poetry by Sufi, Sultan, and woman poets, spreading over four hundred years until the 19th century. In looking at these texts, we will touch upon questions regarding the ideals and realities of love in Persian and Ottoman society, the protean nature and all-encompassing scope of longing in Perso-Ottoman letters, and the metaphysical implications of the hierarchical structure underlying the Persianate codes of love. Open to undergraduates and graduates. Taught in English.

Course ID: 
221 570
Grading: 
Letter or Credit/No Credit

Course List

For a representative, rather than comprehensive, list of courses that count towards the minor, see the Related Courses tab of the Bulletin. Other courses may also fulfill the requirements; students should consult their Iranian Studies minor adviser concerning which courses might fulfill minor requirements.