The Realm of Sa`di.

Translated from the Persian by Sayeh Dashti.

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Literature Series 14
Availability: In stock
Published: 2013
Page #: xxv + 271
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1568592923, 1-56859-292-2
appendix, bibliography, notes

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Quick Overview

The Realm of Sa‘di and nearly a dozen other books and treatises establish Dashti’s reputation as a prominent literary critic and analyst. The first chapter of the book, “Speaking of Sa‘di,” is essentially a reprise of an essay, titled “Ferdowsi or Hafez,” included in Sayeh, a miscellany of articles and translations he published in 1946. The article is a speculative attempt on Dashti’s part to determine who is the greatest poet in the annals of Persian literature. Although the issue is not resolved to anyone’s satisfaction, least of all to Dashti’s own, the chapter is highly readable and intriguing. More or less it sets the tone for the rest of the book. It is from the second chapter, “Angularity vs. Curvature,” that Dashti sets up a theoretical pattern to validate the premise of the book. The eloquence and fluidity of Sa‘di’s style in writing both poetry and prose gives it the smoothness and natural flow of a curved line, as opposed to the style of composition practiced by his contemporaries and peers that pushes the readers around sharp corners and divests them of the autonomy of interpretation and identification. Dashti proceeds to enlarge on this theme through the succeeding chapters in which he compares Sa‘di with a host of luminaries of Persian poetry. It is interesting to note that Dashti’s political thought and idiom permeated his scholarly and critical writing and the present volume is no exception. Although the focus of the book is on Sa‘di as a literary figure, Dashti takes every opportunity to scrutinize the sheikh’s mindset vis-à-vis the dominant sociopolitical influences that shaped it. In this context Dashti also delves into the nature of the relationship between the individual and the state. In the closing chapter of the present volume, Dashti offers a dialectical view of the nature of patriotism as an abiding sentiment in humans underlying the allegiance of the citizenry to the state. The following are salient excerpts from that text: Considering that Dashti wrote these lines in the early 1960s when the Pahlavi regime was at the height of its power and in full control of the country, these words are more than broad hints to an absolutist monarch: "Since the advent of civilization human being have sought freedom and justice from their societies. Governing mechanisms that fail to provide them, cannot expect allegiance and support from the governed. Dictators and potentates of our own age, using the media and other means of propaganda, demand from their subjects unquestioning support and sacrifice for the homeland. The fact of the matter is that no other elements than social justice and assurance of security and dignified existence motivates people to have an allegiance to a state. No ordinary human being feels attachment or a sense of duty toward a land which has offered nothing but slavery and oppression to its denizens. This is exactly what Sa‘di brilliantly propagates in various forms in the totality of his work." --Faridoun Farrokh


Ali Dashti

(1898-1981 or '82)Ali Dashti is by all means an enigmatic figure in the pantheon of Iranian literary and political personalities that captured the public attention for a better part of the twentieth century. His career, in fact, stretched from the early 1920s to the time of his death in 1982 in the course of which he rose from plebeian to patrician and occupied all stations in between. Part of the fascination with Dashti’s public persona is due to his passionate defense of national dignity and social justice. The idea of a compact between the state and citizens, a guaranty of permanence for the former and security and welfare for the latter, remained a constant in Dashti’s political writing throughout his life. This is not by any means to say that Dashti was the only member of the Iranian intelligentsia to voice such ideas. Rather, he is unique in the fact that he proclaims his opinions with more vigor and directness than most. As such, Dashti may rightly be credited with inaugurating journalistic prose—a style of writing that self-consciously coalesces an ideological stance with independently verifiable facts—in the arena of Iranian political discourse. Dashti’s political activism resulted in arrests and incarcerations, and, surprisingly, a seat in the parliament. It must be understood that throughout the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty, except for brief interims following the Allied invasion of Iran in 1941 and during Mohammad Mossadegh’s tenure as premier (28 April 1951–19 August 1953), membership in the parliament was hardly elective. No individual could sit in either chamber of the parliament without the tacit approval of the royal court. As such, Dashti’s membership, representing a district he had never lived in, points up the fact that by this time his standing as a literary figure—fiction writer and literary critic—overshadowed his past as a dissident intellectual, and a seat in the upper house of the parliament was in recognition of that standing.


Ali Dashti: His Life and Work
By Sayeh Dashti

Chapter 1
Speaking of Sa‘di

Chapter 2.
Angularity vs. Curvature

Chapter 3.
Sa‘di's Innovations

Chapter 4.
Sa‘di and the Others

Chapter 5.
Khaghani and Sa‘di

Chapter 6.
Anvari and Sa‘di

Chapter 7.
Sana’i and Sa‘di

Chapter 8.
Nasser-e Khosrow and Sa‘di

Chapter 9.
The Ballads of Sa‘di: Jamal ud Din
Ebn-e Abdul Razzagh and Sa‘di

Chapter 10.
Sa‘di's Contemporaries

Chapter 11.
The Golestan

Chapter 12.
The Bustan

Chapter 13.
The Luster of Sa‘di’s Ethos

Chapter 14.
Master of the Ghazal

Chapter 15.
Sa‘di’s Ideas and Beliefs

By Faridoun Farrokh

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