Love and Devotion

From Persia and Beyond

Edited by Susan Scollay

Love and Devotion

Edited by Susan Scollay

Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

221 pages | 135 color plates | 9 1/4 x 12 | © 2012
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9781851242788 Published December 2012 For sale in North America only

Yusuf and Zulaykha. Khusrau and Shirin. Layla and Majnun. For hundreds of years, Persian poets have captivated audiences with recitations and reinterpretations of timeless tales of earthly and spiritual love. These tales were treasured not only in Iran, but also across the neighboring Mughal and Ottoman Empires.

In Love and Devotion, leading specialists in literature, art history, and philosophy reveal new perspectives on these evocative stories and the exquisite illustrated manuscripts that convey them. Particularly in courtly settings, poetry was a key component of Persian cultural life from the fourteenth through the eighteenth century, and elite patrons commissioned copies of lyrical poems and epics told in verse. Beautifully presented here in full-page reproductions are more than one hundred folios from these illustrated manuscripts, representing masterful works from Hafiz, Rumi, and many others. Echoes of works by Persian poets are manifest across European literature from Dante and Shakespeare to the present, and this lavishly illustrated book reveals new perspectives on the universal theme of love.

Note to the Reader

1. An Introduction to Persian Poetry and Its Milieu
      Susan Scollay
Part I: Epic Romance
2. Love and Devotion in the Shahnama of Firdausi
      Barbara Brend
3. Women in the Romances of the Shahnama
      Firuza Abdullaeva
Part II: Language of the Heart
4. ‘Bahram Gur Visits the Lady from Khwarazm in the Blue Pavilion on Wednesday’ and Similar Representations from Illustrated Manuscripts by Nizami, Hatifi and Mir ‘Ali Shir in the Bodleian Library
      Eleanor Sims
5. Earthly and Spiritual Love in Sufism: Ibn “Arabi and the Poetry of Rumi
      Süleyman Derin
Selection of Poetry
6. The Mystic Poetry of ‘Attar and the Conference of the Birds
      Rafal Stepien
7. Meetings of Lovers: The Bodleian Majalis al-‘Ushshaq, MS. Ouseley, Add. 24
      Lâle Uluç
8. Dreams, Premonitions and Cosmologies in Persianate Literature
      Stefano Carboni
Part III: Intersections: From Persia and Beyond
9. Images of Love and Devotion: Illustrated Mughal Manuscripts and Albums in the Bodleian Library
      Andrew Topsfield
10. An Ottoman ‘Garden of Love’: The Oxford Dilsuznama, the ‘Book of Compassion’
      Susan Scollay
Iskandar/Alexander: East and West
11. The Two Faces of Love: Devotion and Terror in Medieval and Renaissance Europe
      Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers
12. Romance and Love in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, The Squire’s Tale and The Parliament of Fowls
      Nicholas Perkins
13. Imagining Persia: European Travellers’ Tales and Their Literary Offspring
      Clare Williamson
Part IV: Persian Poets and Their Stories
14. A Glance at the History of Romantic Versified Stories in Persian Poetry
      Seyed Mohammad Torabi
Literary Works, Selected Characters and Summaries of the Major Stories
Biographies of the Major Persian Poets and Writers

List of Illustrations
Select Bibliography
Review Quotes
"This handsome volume accompanies an exhibition of the same name. Fourteen chapters present aspects of classic Persianate literature and book illustrations ostensibly focused on the themes of love and devotion, but actually including such topics as mysticism and astrology, and a discussion of related themes, such as the influences on Chaucer and European travelers. . . . The pictures are beautifully reproduced with lots of details. . . . Recommended."
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