Classics of Persian Literature (COMPLIT 134A)
Why do poems that were written hundreds of years ago still capture the imagination? How is love configured in the texts of a distant culture? Who sings the tales and who are the heroes? This course offers an introduction to the central works of Persian literature, from the 10th century to the present, across the genres of epic, romance, lyric, and novel. As we become acquainted with texts from a millennium of literary history, we will touch upon questions of performance (music and dance), storytelling, profane and divine love, the nature of spiritual quests, the development of narrative and poetic form, the formal and ethical aspects of translation, and, finally, the meaning of modernity in a non-Western context. Readings include: the Book of Kings by Ferdowsi (d.1020); Layla and Majnun by Nezami (d.1209); The Conference of the Birds by Attar (d.1221); selections from the Masnavi and Divan of Rumi (d.1273); the Rose Garden by Sa`di (d.1292), selections from the Divan of Hafez (d.1390); The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat (d.1951); and selected modern poems. Taught in English.
Letter or Credit/No Credit