Persian Literature

By Ehsan Yarshater

Paperback : 9780887062643, 562 pages, April 1988
Hardcover : 9780887062636, 562 pages, April 1988

Table of contents

Editorial Note
Ehsan Yarshater

Abbreviations and Short Titles

I. Introductory Survey

1. The Development of Iranian Literatures
Ehsan Yarshater

II. Pre-Islamic Literatures

2. Literary Aspects of the Avesta
Dale Bishop

3. Manichaean Literature
Jes P. Asmussen

III. Classical Period

4. Court Poetry at the Beginning of the Classical Period
Jerome W. Clinton

5. Epic Poetry
William L. Hanaway

6. Ferdowsi and the Art of Tragic Epic
Amin Banani

7. Lyric Poetry
Heshmat Moayyad
8. 'Omar Khayyam
L. P. Elwell-Sutton

9. The Romance
J. C. Burgel

10. Nezami: Master Dramatist
Peter Chelkowski

11. Jalal al-Din Rumi: Passions of the Mystic Mind
Talat S. Halman

12. The Genius of Shiraz: Sa'di and Hafez
Annemarie Schimmel

13. Persian Satire, Parody and Burlesque
Paul Sprachman

14. The Indian Style: Progress or Decline?
Ehsan Yarshater

IV. Contemporary Literature of Iran

15. Persian Prose Fiction: An Iranian Mirror and Conscience
Michael C. Hillmann

16. Sadeq Hedayat: An Appraisal
Ehsan Yarshater

17. Contemporary Poetry in Iran
Massud Farzan

18. Forugh Farrokhzad
Farzaneh Milani

19. Modern Persian Drama
Gisele Kapuscinski

V. Persian Literature outside Iran

20. Persian Poetry in the Indo-Pakistani Subcontinent
Annemarie Schimmel

21. Iqbal's Persian Poetry
Annemarie Schimmel

22. The Persian Literature of Afghanistan
Ashraf Ghani

23. Modern Tajik Literature
Keith Hitchins

VI. Translation of Persian Literature

24. Persian Literature in Translation
John D. Yohannan

25. Select Bibliography if Translations from Persian Literature


1. Classical Persian Literature
G. M. Wickens

2. Modernist Persian Literature
Mohammad R. Ghanoonparvar, Michael C. Hillmann, and John D. Yohannan



Index of Proper Names, with complete transliteration


In this unique survey, twenty-one scholars examine Persian imaginative literature, bringing out its historical development through discussions of genres and styles. Ehsan Yarshater's introductory essay places the various phases of Iran's literatures in perspective. It also expands on some areas of interest touched upon in the ensuing chapters, notably Old and Middle Persian literature. In a second essay, Yarshater explains the progression of the classical tradition from a robust youth to an effete old age, before moving on to a new beginning. Significant writers are highlighted in separate chapters.

The book's sections include: introductory survey, pre-Islamic literatures, the classical period, contemporary literature of Iran, Persian literature outside Iran, and the translation of Persian literature.

Ehsan Yarshater is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University and Director of its Center for Iranian Studies. He serves as General Editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica and of its Bibliotheca Persica, which includes the Persian Heritage Series, the Persian Studies Series, and the Modern Persian Literature Series. He is General Editor of the History of al-Tabari described herein.