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Iranian Studies Series

The Iranian Studies Series publishes high-quality scholarship on various aspects of Iranian civilisation, covering both contemporary and classical cultures of the Persian cultural area. The contemporary Persian-speaking area includes Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Central Asia, while classical societies using Persian as a literary and cultural language were located in Anatolia, Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent. The objective of the series is to foster studies of the literary, historical, religious and linguistic products in Iranian languages. In addition to research monographs and reference works, the series publishes English-Persian critical text-editions of important texts. The series intends to publish resources and original research and make them accessible to a wide audience.

The Iranian Studies Series is published with Leiden University Press and co-pulished and distributed by Chicago University Press (US) and Manchester University Press (UK).


 gog_klein agreement

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn: One Word - Yak Kaleme: 19th-Century Persian Treatiose Introducing Western Codified Law.


This book is one of the earliest and most influential treatises on the relationship between western-style law and Islam. Yak Kaleme means literally ‘One Word,' and the one word that is explained here is Qanun, codified law, which the author regards as the key to the regeneration and progress of Iran. ‘One Word' was influential in the lead-up to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, but the book's significance is wider than that, and its message is relevant today. It was one of the first treatises to demonstrate that Islam is compatible with the introduction of modern western forms of government, and specifically that the principles of the sharia can be incorporated in a codified law comparable to that found in European countries. This was a daring argument in the late 19th century Middle East, when it was extremely difficult to convince the rulers and religious class that a civil code of law was needed: would it not diminish the status of the ruler, and would it not be an admission that the religious law, the sharia, was deficient?

The author argues that the principles underlying constitutional government can be found in Islamic sources, particularly in the Quran and traditions of the Prophet. A codified law is simply a way of making these Islamic principles available to the people in a form they can understand. The intelligent and informed participation of the people in society contributes to their welfare and good governance. Unlike some contemporary Oriental travellers to Europe, he observes that European dominance derives not from a few technological advances, but primarily from the organisation of society, on the basis of codified law.

Anousha Sedighi: Agreement Restrictions in Persian


Persian is a relatively understudied language within the field of theoretical linguistics. This book adopts the Minimalist Program of Chomsky (1995-2004), which is at the forefront of recent theories of formal syntax, and applies it to the Persian language. Agreement Restrictions in Persian is the first comprehensive attempt to tackle the issue of verbal agreement in Persian from a cross-linguistic point of view.

Although it is commonly believed that in Persian the verb agrees with the subject, several constructions seem to constrain this obligatory rule. For instance, in the presence of a plural inanimate subject, the verb may appear with the third person singular morphology.Adopting the framework of Distributed Morphology, the author argues that agreement is in fact obtained with the inanimate plural subjects. However, a post-syntactic "impoverishment" operation causes the verb to surface in non-agreeing form. The second construction involves so-called psychological constructions. At first sight, the verb does not seem to agree with the understood subject and appears in the third person singular form. The author proposes that again, agreement does in fact obtain. Unlike the previous analyses, which consider the experiencer as the subject, it is argued that the psychological-state is the subject of the sentence. The author captures properties of Persian psychological constructions by proposing that they contain a Tense requirement and applied arguments.

Findings of this work not only contribute to better understanding of Persian syntax, but also provide important implications for the grammar theory as a whole. The author, Dr. Anousha Sedighi, is an assistant professor of Persian at Portland State University.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab: Courtly Riddles Enigmatic Embellishments in Early Persian Poetry.


Riddles are among the oldest genres in many literary traditions. Literary riddles occur in early Persian literature from the tenth century, and they continue to be used in modern Iranian society. Riddles were composed at courts in the Iranian world for various purposes, especially highlighting the insignia of the ruler's administrative and military power. The riddle offers the poet a means to demonstrate his artistic accomplishment in a compact composition, and secure his social, professional and personal position at the court and in cultured circles. The aesthetic of puzzlement that happens outside the riddle and around it, was much appreciated at courts.

This book is the first study of Persian literary riddles to appear in English. It translates and analyses a wide range of complex riddling poems from the tenth to the twelfth centuries, including the masters of the genre. It also analyses the relationship between metaphors and riddles and the genre of literary description (wasf).

Franklin Lewis & Sunil Sharma (eds.): The Necklace of the Pleiades: 24 Essay on Persian Literature, Culture and Religion


In Persian literature the Necklace of the Pleiades is a metaphor for the six or seven stars (Parvin, or Sorayyâ, high up in the constellation Taurus) which the heavens bestow, like precious pearls, upon a poet in gratitude and reward for composing a beautiful poem. The poem itself is compared to a string of pearls, with its carefully chosen words bored like unique pearls and strung in perfect metrical proportion. As Hafiz puts it:

You've sung a ghazal, pierced the pearls, come and sing it sweetly, Hafiz!The heavens strew the very Necklace of the Pleiades upon your verse.

This volume collects 24 essays (three of them in Persian) on Persian literature, culture and religion by Persian scholars from around the world, presented to Professor Heshmat Moayyad of the University of Chicago, on his 80th birthday, in recognition and gratitude for his long and fruitful career as scholar and teacher in the field of Persian and Iranian Studies.

The topics covered here in essays by some of his friends, colleagues and former students range from the Persian Alexander romance, to Ferdowsi's Shahnama and other epics, the poetics and imagery of the ghazal and the qasida, Mughal court poetry, Sufism, Ismaili history, Baha'i literature, Iranian linguistics, the modern writer Sadeq Hedayat, and the reception of Salman Rushdie's novel in Persian translation. These essays reflect the state of the field of Persian literary studies and will be of substantial interest not only to scholars of Iranian culture, history and religions, but of Middle Eastern and South Asian studies, as well.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn: The Treasury of Tabriz - The Great Il-Khanid Compendium.


'A Treasury from Tabriz' is a massive manuscript from 14th century Persia. It is almost perfectly preserved, and contains 209 works on a wide range of subjects, in Persian and Arabic. It is indeed a whole treasure-house, compressed between two covers. It was bought by Islamic Consultative Assembly in Tehran in 1995, and has been published in facsimile by Tehran University Press.

The city of Tabriz was one of the main cultural centres of the Persian-speaking world in the 14th century. Scholarly and cultural activities included manuscript production, illumination, miniature paintings, architecture, astronomy, philosophy, mysticism, music and literature. The manuscript contains important works selected by an educated gentleman of Tabriz, and copied in his own hand, between 1321 and 1323AD. Together, the texts in the compendium show us the canon of learning for a man of letters in the Islamic world, covering prophetic traditions, ethics, mysticism, jurisprudence, theology, exegesis, history, grammar, literature and literary criticism, philosophy, astronomy and astrology, geomancy, mineralogy, mathematics, medicine, music, cosmography and geography. The essays collected in this volume introduce diverse aspects of this compendium for the first time, giving us a window into this world, and in some cases the best available texts of important works of Islamic culture and learning.

This collection of essays contains fourteen articles, each dealing with one aspect of this manuscript, from palaeography and codicology to philosophy, Islamic mysticism, history, literary works, astronomy and wisdom literature. Each article revolves around a specific topic, explaining its importance in the cultural and literary milieu of the fourteenth century Islamic world.

Sassan Tabatabai - Father of Songs Persian Verse- Rudaki and his Poetry.


Abu ‘Abdollâh Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki (c. 880 CE-941 CE), the poet attached to the Samanid court which ruled much of Khorâsân (northeastern Persia) from its seat in Bukhara, is widely regarded as "the father of Persian poetry." Rudaki is the first major poet to write in New Persian and holds a central position in the re-emergence of Persian as a literary language following the Arab conquest. The Arab conquest in the seventh and eighth centuries installed Islam as the official religion, and Arabic as the predominant literary language in Persian-speaking lands.

In the tenth century, the gradual weakening of the Caliphate, and the distance of Khorâsân from the center of the caliph's power in Baghdad, provided a hospitable atmosphere for a "renaissance" of Persian literature. Persian poetry-now written in the Arabic alphabet-flourished under the patronage of Samanid amirs who drew literary talent to their court. It was under the rule of Nasr ibn Ahmad II (r. 914-943) that Rudaki distinguished himself as the brightest literary star of the Samanid court. As a court poet, much of Rudaki's verse is characterized as panegyric poetry, praising the qualities and characteristics of his patrons. As a founder and innovator of a new poetic aesthetic, Rudaki has had a great impact on subsequent generations of Persian poets. Rudaki is accredited with being the first poet to write in the rubâi form; and much of the imagery we first encounter in Rudaki's lines has become staples of Persian poetry.

A.A. Seyed-Gohrab, F. Doufikar-Aerts & S. McGlinn - Gog and Magog -  The Clans of

Chaos in World Literature.


Gog and Magog originate in the Bible and Quran, where they feature as savage tribes, threatening a settled people. They are held back by an iron wall, built to protect the civilized lands by a figure who has been identified in the Islamic tradition as Alexander the Great. The story has been elaborated in the traditions of diverse cultures from Indonesia to Europe, in genres ranging from exegesis to apocalypse, folk stories and in folk religion, not excluding the contemporary folk religion of the internet. The figures are constantly reinterpreted, as the figures of the enemies of order change: for the Persians of Ferdowsi's time they are Turks, for contemporary Israelis they are Arabs, while Arabs may identify any figure of power who presages the end of the world with Gog and Magog.

The articles deal with Gog and Magog in Indonesia, the Persian-speaking and Arabic-speaking worlds, and in the West, in both classical and contemporary cultures. Naturally they are part of the required caste in the Alexander romances, where they contrast with the power and virtue of the hero. In Indonesia, they figure as ‘Juja-Makjuja' in a Javanese apocalypse, in which the side of evil is associated with the Dutch colonial presence. In medieval Western Europe they are an evil people contained somewhere in the East which will break loose and wreak havoc over the civilised world. In the Byzantine tradition, Gog en Magog are represented as creatures with dogs' heads and snake tongues, while on the covers of contemporary Arab apocalyptic literature they may be giants or half-humans, and are sometimes associated with flying saucers and the Bermuda Triangle


Jos Coumans, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: An Updated Bibliography.

Worldwide one of the most popular books is Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Since the first version in 1859, new editions, reprints and translations have appeared in an almost endless flow, varying from plain text to highly decorated, illustrated editions and from almost microscopic miniatures to  monumental, oversized volumes. Among them FitzGerald's versions still stand out, but there are hundreds of other translations, from countries all over the world. There are jeweled bindings, artist's books, scholarly and critical editions, forgeries and fake editions, making the book a perfect object for book collectors and lovers of poetry. This book provides a new selection and description of almost 900 (?) editions of the Rubáiyát of Khayyám since the initial bibliography by G.A. Potter, published in 1929.

Edward FitzGerald's translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám has been one of the world's most popular books. Since the first version in 1859, new editions, reprints and translations have appeared in an almost endless flow, varying from plain text to highly decorated, illustrated editions and from almost microscopic miniatures to monumental, oversized volumes. Among them, FitzGerald's versions still stand out, but there are hundreds of other translations, from many countries. There are jeweled bindings, artist's books, scholarly and critical editions, forgeries and fake editions, making the book a perfect object for book collectors and lovers of poetry. This book provides a new selection and description of almost 900 (?) editions of the Rubáiyát of Khayyám since the initial bibliography by G.A. Potter, published in 1929.

Nizami: A Key to the Treasure of the Hakim

Edited by Johan Christoph Bürgel and Christine van Ruymbeke

ISBN 9789087280970 * €44.95 * April 2011 * Paperback * 306 pages

This splendid work consists of thirteen essays by eminent scholars, each focusing on different aspects of the Khamsa, which is a collection of five long poems written by the Persian poet Nizami of Ganja (1141]1209). It constitutes a significant development in the field of Nizami]studies, and more general, of Persian literature. It shows how classical Greek knowledge mingles with the Persian past and the Islamic culture in Nizami's world. Contributors include J.C. Bürgel, L. Anvar, G. van den Berg, M. Casari, P. Franke, A. Piemontese, C. van Ruymbeke, C. Saccone, A. Seyed]Gohrab, P. Soucek and M.I. Waley, K. Talattof, Z. Vesel, and R. Würsch. "The list of the authors is representative of the international studies on Nizâmi at the present moment. If only for this reason, the appearance of this rich and many]sided volume of essays is of the greatest importance." J. T. P. de Bruijn, Professor Emeritus of Persian at the University of Leiden.


Ravshan Rahmoni & Gabrielle van den Berg, The Epic of Barzu as Narrated by Jura Kamal.

J.T.P. de Bruijn, The Journey of the Faithful to the Place of Return: A Persian Allegory on the Development of the Human Soul by Sanâ'i of Ghazna (died 1131 A.D.).

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