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.