Rumi, Hafiz and the Mystic Poets of Persia


Course description

How did a 13th century poet writing in Farsi, the language of Persia, become the best-selling poet of the present day?

The poet Rumi was one of several luminaries of a golden age of Persian literature. Along with near contemporaries Hafiz, Khayyam, Attar and Sa'adi, all were steeped in Sufi philosophy which lends a timeless relevance and meaning to their work. The Sufi's approach of direct experience and universal wisdom often led to persecution by the ruling clergy, so Sufis turned to poetry to pass on their knowledge, hiding meaning in symbol and metaphor. 

The class will explore the mystical poetry of these poets (in various English translations), delving into Jelaluddin Rumi's Mathnawi, Hafiz's DivanThRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Fariddudin Attar's Conference of the Birds  and The Rose Garden of Sa'adi, in relation to Sufi thought and practice.

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