Undergraduate Module Descriptor

ARA2152: Persian Literature

This module descriptor refers to the 2015/6 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Leonard Lewisohn (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


This course is intended to give you an overview of some of the main trends in Classical Persian Literature from the 10th to the 20th centuries, so as help you acquire a deeper appreciation of the riches of Persian culture. Beside Sufi ideas, which comprise a dominant tendency in the Persian poetic and prose tradition, we will discuss a number of other literary trends in order to lay out a broad picture of Persian Literature. The first class is devoted to Firdawsi (d. 1020), the composer of Persia’s national epic TheBook of Kings (Shahnama). The second class will concentrate on the Ismaili poet Nasir-i Khusraw (d. 1052). The course continues in a similar chronological fashion down to the present day, concluding just prior to the Iranian revolution of 1978 selections from the four great romantic lyricists: Nizami (d. 1202), Sa‘di (d. c. 1292), Hafiz (d. 1389), and Jami (d. 1492) will be given. Finally, we will discuss the life and times of, and read some poetry by, Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967). With the exception of the final class which concerns the early modernist movement in Persian Literature,approximately half of the readings will feature mystical texts in prose, the rest being drawn from the great classical poets, the literature of ethics and adab, as well as the maqala and hikayat genres.

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