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Distributed for Leiden University Press

Losing Our Minds, Coming to Our Senses

Sensory Readings of Persian Literature and Culture

Diverse approaches to sensoria in Persian literature.

We experience art with our whole bodies, yet traditional approaches to Persian literature overemphasize the mind—the political, allegorical, or didactic—and ignore the feelings that uniquely characterize aesthetics. Losing Our Minds, Coming to Our Senses rediscovers the sensuality of Persian art across period, genre, and artist. Through readings of such well-known writers as Rumi and lesser-known artists as Hossein Abkenar, the authors demonstrate the significance of sensoria to the rich history of Persian letters.

276 pages | 3 color plates, 8 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Iranian Studies Series

Middle Eastern Studies

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“A sumptuous celebration of the rich and paradoxical sensory world of classical and modern Persian literature and culture, Losing Our Minds, Coming to Our Senses expands our appreciation of one of the world’s literary treasure troves.”

Farzaneh Milani, University of Virginia

“Shams of Tabriz, that enigmatic master of poet Rumi, is supposed to have said of himself: ‘You will see my state if your ears turn into eyes.’ In this book, we see not only the mutuality and interdependence of the mind and the senses, not just the vocal, the visual and the tactile, or the sounds and smells of our world, but an entire universe in constant acts of making and remaking of the mental and material worlds we live in. Such a collection, rare as it may be in comprehending Persian culture and its amazingly rich literature, occupies a central niche of understanding, at once unique and essential, to all that makes and unmakes us in the diverse mental and sensuous worlds we live in.”

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, University of Maryland, author of Recasting Persian Poetry

“This aptly-titled collected volume, Losing Our Minds, Coming to Our Senses: Sensory Readings in Persian Literature and Culture, marks a momentous and welcome shift away from the conventional socio-political and allegorical readings of Persian literature. Ranging in their focus from the Classical to modern literary and cultural production, the nine chapters, complemented with a refined introduction, chart new paths for a more nuanced appreciation of the Iranian literary and cultural traditions.”

Nasrin Rahimieh, University of California

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