Classical Persian Literature - EIr (3)

Continuing on the analysis on this article on Encyclopedia Iranica (, we can see the key authors highlighted are


Group 1: lots of mentions in the article, specific sections devoted to these authors, high praise showered on these authors

Ferdowsi (epic, 28)

Neẓāmi Ganjavi (narrative poems, 25)

Saʿdi (multiple genres,23)  


Group 2: influential, for a variety of reasons 

Jāmi (poems,12) - spread to Central Asia, etc. 

Jalāl-al-Din Rumi (maṯnawi, 13) - Sufi, even though usually named side-by-side of Saʿdi, the article author CHARLES-HENRI DE FOUCHÉCOUR clearly thinks he is not as praiseworthy

Ḥāfeẓ (ghazals, 11) - main praise is that his ghazals is even better than Saʿdi

Rudaki (qaṣida, 10) - at the fountainhead of Persian poetry tradition


Group 3: Famous in the west

Farid-al-Din ʿAṭṭār (Sufi narrative poems,8) - works translated into French and English

Omar Khayyam (quatrain, 7) - key author in a small genre, translated by Fitzgerald


What does it mean to my CWANA list?

1.  From a literature perspectives, need to include Neẓāmi Ganjavi, and it should replace Neẓām-al-Molk's prose mirror, or if I want to keep prose in there, Rumi may go (Saʿdi and Jāmi are Sufi, but not Ḥāfeẓ according to the article).

2. If I retain a slot for prose, replacing Neẓām-al-Molk with Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi could work, since it adds a Ismaili philosopher at the same time. But the author also says: "At the end of the 11th century, Neẓām-al-Molk, the renowned vizier of the Saljuqs, wrote his Book of Government or Rules for Kings (Siyar al-moluk or Siyāsat-nāma), a major work in simple yet elegant prose containing political comment on contemporaneous history."


Two more notes of interest:

A. Besides the CWANA literary authors already mentioned, the article also mention quite a few others I have in my list of 150 - such as Ibn Sina, Ghazzali, Ibn Arabi, and most impressively, also Hojviri, Amir Khusrow, and Fożuli. About the latter, it says, "In Baghdad, Fożuli (d. 1556) was an eminent man of letters, primarily a Turkish poet but also recognized today for the quality of his lyrical poetry in Persian."  About Hojviri: "Hojviri (d. ca. 1074) was the author of the first treatise on Sufism written in Persian. Benefiting from the work of his predecessors, he composed The Revelation of the Hidden (Kašf al-maḥjub), rich in both content and style."

B. Related to Malay literature, I notice the name hikayat is from Persian (maybe ultimately Arabic)."The shortest and most common form of story is the ḥekāyat, an anecdote to be told." Also noted the Persian origin of Book of Baḵtiār, "originating in a Middle Persian source that was then translated into Arabic and subsequently into Persian. Here the viziers’ misdeeds are described and denounced in ten stories."


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