Admission to the MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures, specialisation Persian Studies or the Research Master Area Studies, specialisation Middle Eastern Studies with sufficient level of Persian. Please, contact the student advisor, Nicole A.N.M. van Os or Dr. G.R. van den Berg, if you are interested in taking this course, but NOT a student admitted to one of the above-mentioned master programmes or if you are not confident regarding your level of Persian.
The Iranian cultural area is much larger than the area covered by the modern states of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Iranian languages are spoken in an area stretching from China to Turkey and from the Caucasus to Oman. Persian is the most widespread Iranian language and has been until quite recently a lingua franca and a literary language in large parts of Central Asia and India. As the language of refined culture, Persian has deeply influenced the literary output of the Ottoman and the Moghul empires, and Persian literature in turn has been formed and enriched by the influence of Indian, Arabic and Greek literary heritage. In this course four topics will be covered: patronage of Persian letters under the Ghaznavid Turks; Persian renditions of the Indian fable of Kalila and Dimna; Alexander the Great in Persian literature; Tajik and Judeo-Tajik literature. We will focus specifically on the lands east and north of present-day Iran, and on men of letters originating from or working in cities such as Ghazna, Lahore, Delhi, Ganja, Bukhara and Kokand from the 11th century to the beginning of the 20th century.
To gain insight in the nature, context and function of Persian literature produced in Central Asia, India, and present-day Afghanistan, in connection to Persian literary and cultural history.
This course is (provisionally) scheduled on Wednesdays 15-17. Timetable
Mode of instruction
Paper of 3000 words related to one of the four topics treated in this course (60%); active participation and preparation of course work (40%)
I. The Flourishing of Persian Culture at the Ghaznavid Court
- C.E. Bosworth, ‘The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids,’ Iran VI, 1968, pp. 33-44
- Alice Hunsberger, Nasir Khusraw, The Ruby of Badakhshan, London, 2000, pp. ix-xi and 1-16
- Gilbert Lazard, ‘The Rise of the New Persian Language’ in Cambridge History of Iran, vol. IV, Cambridge 1975, pp. 595-632.
- J.S. Meisami, ‘Ghaznavid Panegyrics: Some Political Implications,’ Iran XXVIII, 1990, pp. 31-44
- John Perry, ‘The Origin and Development of Literary Persian’, in General Introduction to Persian Literature, ed. J.T.P. de Bruijn, London 2009, pp. 43-70 (chapter 2)
- E.Yarshater, ‘The Theme of Wine-Drinking and the Concept of the Beloved in Early Persian Poetry,’ Studia Islamica XIII (1960), pp. 43-53
II. Fables from India: the story of Kalila and Demna
- François de Blois, ‘Pre-Islamic Iranian and Indian Influences on Persian Literature’, in General Introduction to Persian Literature, ed. J.T.P. de Bruijn, London 2009, pp. 333-344 (chapter 11)
- C. Brockelmann, ‘Kalila wa Dimna,’ in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition (Brill online 2009)
- M. & T. Omidsalar, ‘Fable,’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. xiii, New York 1999, pp. 137-138
- G.M. Wickens, ‘Anwār-e Sohayli,’ in Encyclopaedia Iranica, London and New York 1987, pp. 140-141
III. Imagination and Geography: The travels of Alexander, with specific reference to Gog and Magog
- François de Blois, ‘Eskandar-nāma of Nezāmi’, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. ix, Costa Mesa, California, 1998, pp. 612-614
- J.C. Bürgel, ‘Krieg und Frieden im Alexanderepos Nizamis’, in M. Bridges and J.Ch. Bürgel (eds.), The Problematics of Power, Eastern and Western Representations of Alexander the Great, Bern, 1996, pp. 91-107
- William L. Hanaway, ‘Eskandar-nāma’, Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. ix, Costa Mesa, California, 1998, pp. 609-612
- Claude Kappler, ‘Alexandre dans le Shāh Nāma de Firdousi: De la conquête du monde à la découverte de soi’, in M. Bridges and J.Ch. Bürgel (eds.), The Problematics of Power, Eastern and Western Representations of Alexander the Great, Bern, 1996, pp. 164-190
- Scott D. Westrem, ‘Against Gog and Magog’, in Sylvia Tomasch, Sealy Gilles (eds) Text and Territory: Geographical Imagination in the European Middle Ages, Philadelphia, 1998, pp. 54-75
IV. From Persian to Tajik: Politics and Literature in 20th century Central Asia
- J. Bečka, ‘Problème de l’écriture au Tadjikistan,’ in Pand-o Sokhan, eds. C. Balay, C. Kappler, Zh. Vesel, Teheran 1995, pp. 43-51
- Thomas Loy, ‘About a Friend. Reflections on the Memoirs of Mordekhay Bachayev’, in Bukharan Jews in the 20th Century, Wiesbaden 2008, pp. 127-144
Keith Hitchins, ‘Ayni’, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. iii, London & New York 1989, pp. 144-149
- John Perry, A Tajik Persian Reference Grammar, Leiden 2005, pp. 33-43
- Lutz Rzehak, ‘The Linguistic Challenge: Bukharan Jews and Soviet Language Policy’, in Bukharan Jews in the 20th Century, Wiesbaden 2008, pp. 37-55
Registration via uSis
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply