scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question
Journal ArticleDOI

The Oral Background of Persian Epics: Storytelling and Poetry

06 Jun 2008-Middle Eastern Literatures (Routledge)-Vol. 11, Iss: 1, pp 105-107
TL;DR: Yamamoto and Yamamoto discuss how oral tradition inter-connects with Middle Eastern literature and present a Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures (BSIL).
Abstract: KUMIKO YAMAMOTO Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures, 26. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2003. xxiv + 191 pp. ISBN 90 04 12587 6 The central argument of this book concerns how oral tradition intera...
Citations
More filters
Book
11 Jan 2012
TL;DR: In this article, nearly three thousand demons in the mythologies and lore of virtually every ancient society and most religions are cataloged and described. And descriptions of the demonic and diabolical members making up the hierarchy of Hell are given.
Abstract: This book catalogues nearly three thousand demons in the mythologies and lore of virtually every ancient society and most religions It also includes descriptions of the demonic and diabolical members making up the hierarchy of Hell

10 citations

Book ChapterDOI
15 Jan 2011
TL;DR: In the last two decades, the problem of the interdependence of oral and written traditions has received growing attention in the context of Shāh-nāma studies.
Abstract: The issue of orality and the interplay between the oral and the written have long been an ‘academic backwater’ in the study of medieval Persian literature.1 There were mainly two reasons for this: (1) the choice of subject-matter for scholarly research has all too often been guided by evaluative aesthetic criteria, restricting it to the study of acknowledged masterpieces and leaving out whole layers of medieval literary production which might offer themselves most opportunely to inquiry from the viewpoint of orality, such as, for example, folk prose literature; (2) there has been a reluctance to make use of theoretical tools and approaches developed on the basis of inquiry into similar issues in Western literatures. In the last two decades, however, the problem of the interdependence of oral and written traditions has received growing attention, first of all in the context of Shāh-nāma studies. The Shāh-nāma (The Book of Kings) of Abū al-Qāsim Firdausī (d. c. 1020) is a vast epic poem, whose current standard edition includes over 50,000 rhymed couplets (Khāliqī–Mut. laq 1988–2008). The epic spans Iranian history from the mythical Gayōmart, the First Man, to the fall of the historical Sasanian dynasty as a result of the Arab conquest in the seventh century, and is thus considered the national epos of Iran.2 The other focal point for studying orality in medieval Persian literature has become the Persian dāstān. Dāstāns are capacious fictional prose narratives with branching plots, which relate the heroic-romantic adventures of their eponymous heroes, often with a religious, Islamic emphasis. Their composition and transmission are connected with the institution of professional or semiprofessional storytellers, who at different historical periods were known as muh. addithūn, qis .s .a-kh ānān, and, more recently, since about the Safavid period (sixteenth century onwards), as naqqālān.3 Lacking a strict genre definition, dāstāns were variously referred to by their authors as ‘tale, story’ (dāstān, rivāyat, h. ikāyat or qis .s .a) or ‘book’ (kitāb). In research literature they are defined as folk stories (dāstān-hā–yi ‘āmmiyāna),4 as narodnye dastany( Borshevskiy 1963:10–11), popular romances (Hanaway 1970: 7, and 1971), or as heroic novels (romanhāi pahlavāni) (Salimov 1971: 14–15). The writing down of the dāstāns most probably began in the eleventh century; the tradition of their composition survived till the second half of the

8 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
29 Jan 2018-Iran
TL;DR: Firdawsi's Shahnama, the completion of which is traditionally dated to around 400/1010, is generally thought to have been a failure at first as mentioned in this paper, and it is said by both traditional accounts and muc...
Abstract: Firdawsi’s Shahnama, the completion of which is traditionally dated to around 400/1010, is generally thought to have been a failure at first. It is said by both traditional accounts and muc...

8 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the Tahmineh and Rostam episode is compared vis-a-vis both the pre-modern scribal interventions in the manuscript tradition of the poem, as well as two oral presentations of the same episode by traditional storytellers, as preserved in their prompt-books (tumārs) and in recorded performances from the twentieth century.
Abstract: The Tahmineh and Rostam episode, as presented in modern text-critical editions of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, is compared vis-a-vis both the pre-modern scribal interventions in the manuscript tradition of the poem, as well as two oral presentations of the same episode by traditional storytellers (naqqālān), as preserved in their prompt-books (tumārs) and in recorded performances from the twentieth century. The mise-en-scene, the social circmstances, as well as the expansive nature of such oral performances, are described, and a translation of an oral version of the Rostam and Tahmineh episode is given. The narrative strategies employed to negotiate the intersection of new episodes or contemporary moralistic considerations with the written text of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh are then explored, analyzing the nature, motivations and functions of the scribal and oral interpolations to the Tahmineh episode, and demonstrating how modernizing reinterpretations impart a certain dynamism to the living Shāhnāmeh tradition. The ...

5 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines some manuscripts of the so-called "Anonymous Histories of Shah Esmāʿil" with a view to answering the question: How did people in post-1514 Iran remember the Battle of Chālderān?
Abstract: This article examines some manuscripts of the so-called “Anonymous Histories of Shah Esmāʿil” with a view to answering the question: How did people in post-1514 Iran remember the Battle of Chālderān? After a brief examination of these manuscripts, the article focuses on three moments of the battle—the Safavid council of war, Esmāʿil’s clash with Malquch-oghli, and the Ottoman cannonade—to explore the ways in which popular memory embellished and altered the events we know from the official histories. Such changes reveal that the loss at Chālderān may have marked the end of Shah Esmāʿil’s aura of invincibility, but not of his larger-than-life image in the minds of his countrymen.

5 citations

References
More filters
01 Jan 2019
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors trace the musical constitution of moral, economic, material, and social relations between rural communities and the state in the Sultanate of Oman and argue that communities embedded within the authoritarian state hegemony of the country form and affirm social relations with the state through its embodied proxy, via the reciprocal exchange of state-directed giving and praise poetry responses.
Abstract: Poems to Open Palms: Praise Performance and the State in the Sultanate of Oman by Bradford J. Garvey Advisor: Jane C. Sugarman This dissertation traces the musical constitution of moral, economic, material, and social relations between rural communities and the state in the Sultanate of Oman. I argue that communities embedded within the authoritarian state hegemony of the Sultanate form and affirm social relations with the state through its embodied proxy, Sultan Qābūs bin Ṣa‘īd Āl Bū Ṣa‘īd, via the reciprocal exchange of state-directed giving and praise poetry responses. The circuit of exchange catalyzes the social production of political legitimacy and ensures continued generous distribution by mythopoetically presenting such cyclicity as resulting from elite and non-elite mutuality. This praise poetry is rendered within two song and dance complexes: al-razḥa, a collective war dance with drumming and antiphonal choral singing, and al-‘āzī, a choral ode with a solo singer, tight poetic structure, and a chorus of responders. Through a close analysis of the content and context of praise poems sung by Arab men’s performance troupes experienced over a year of participant observation fieldwork, I argue that praise poetry is an overlooked site for the construction and negotiation of state political legitimacy. Drawing on heterodox and Gramscian political economy, I show how musical performance operates within broader circuits of exchange by functioning as a site wherein non-market economic logics are fused with moral, performative, and political norms. Instead of simply tracing a circuit of utilitarian exchange (praise for gifts for praise), I focus on the how gifts and their responses reciprocally negotiate social relations between state elites and non-elites. By focusing on the words and actions of nonelites as they integrate the various proffered benefits of a distributive state into their own

84 citations

MonographDOI
17 Apr 2018
TL;DR: In this article, Hameen-Anttila analyzed the lost sixth-century history of the Sasanians, its lost Arabic translations, and the sources of Firdawsi's Shāhnāme.
Abstract: In Khwadāynāmag. The Middle Persian Book of Kings Jaakko Hameen-Anttila analyses the lost sixth-century historiographical work of the Sasanians, its lost Arabic translations, and the sources of Firdawsī's Shāhnāme .

33 citations

Dissertation
02 Aug 2013
Abstract: Based on a broad survey of the reception of Firdausī‘s Shāhnāma in medieval times, this dissertation argues that Firdausī‘s oeuvre was primarily perceived as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly élites. The medieval reception of the Shāhnāma is clearly manifested in the comments of medieval authors about Firdausī and his work, and in their use of the Shāhnāma in the composition of their own works. The production of ikhtiyārāt-i Shāhnāmas (selections from the Shāhnāma) in medieval times and the remarkable attention of the authors of mirrors for princes to Firdausī‘s opus are particularly illuminating in this regard. The survey is complemented by a close textual reading of the Ardashīr cycle in the Shāhnāma in comparison with other medieval historical accounts about Ardashīr, in order to illustrate how history in the Shāhnāma is reduced to only a framework for the presentation of ideas and ideals of kingship. Based on ancient Persian beliefs regarding the ideal state of the world, I argue that Ardashīr in the Shāhnāma is represented as a Saviour of the world. Within this context, I offer new interpretations of the symbolic tale of Ardashīr‘s fight against a giant worm, and explain why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr. Finally, I compare iii the Ardashīr cycle in the Shāhnāma with nine medieval Persian mirrors for princes to demonstrate that the ethico-political concepts contained in them, as well as the portrayal of Ardashīr, remain more or less the same in all these works. Study of the Shāhnāma as a mirror for princes, as this study shows, not only reveals the meaning of its symbolic tales, but also sheds light on the pre-Islamic roots of some of the ethicopolitical concepts presented in the medieval Perso-Islamic literature of wisdom and advice for kings and courtiers.

20 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The special issue of the journal of Iranian Studies as discussed by the authors takes its theme from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh seen as a work of world literature, a term (Weltliteratur) which has earlier exponents.
Abstract: This special issue of the journal of Iranian Studies takes its theme from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh 1 seen as a work of world literature—a term (Weltliteratur) which, though it has earlier exponents,2 h...

16 citations

Book
01 Jan 2015
TL;DR: In this article, a collection of essays from scholars from various areas of Iranian and comparative studies, among which are the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian tradition with its wide network of influences in late antique Mesopotamia, notably among the Jewish milieu; classical Persian literature in its manifold genres; medieval Persian history; oral history; folklore and more.
Abstract: The volume demonstrates the cultural centrality of the oral tradition for Iranian studies. It contains contributions from scholars from various areas of Iranian and comparative studies, among which are the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian tradition with its wide network of influences in late antique Mesopotamia, notably among the Jewish milieu; classical Persian literature in its manifold genres; medieval Persian history; oral history; folklore and more. The essays in this collection embrace both the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods, both verbal and visual media, as well as various language communities (Middle Persian, Persian, Tajik, Dari) and geographical spaces (Greater Iran in pre-Islamic and Islamic medieval periods; Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan of modern times). Taken as a whole, the essays reveal the unique blending of oral and literate poetics in the texts or visual artefacts each author focuses upon, conceptualizing their interrelationship and function.

14 citations