The Treatment of Coeval Persian Poetry in Arabic Anthologies of the Eleventh/Seventeenth Century


In this short article, I draw attention to the discussion of poets from Iran (al-ʿAjam) in two Arabic biographical anthologies of the eleventh/seventeenth century: the Sulāfat al-ʿaṣr of Ibn Maʿṣūm (d. 1120/1709) and the Nafḥat al-rayḥāna of Muḥammad Amīn al-Muḥibbī (d. 1111/1699). The latter text not only addresses the careers of noteworthy Persian poets, but it also presents samples of their work that al-Muḥibbī has translated into Arabic verse. In the case of the poet Ṣāʾib Tabrīzī (d. ca. 1087/1676), at least one of al-Muḥibbī’s translations can be traced to the original Persian. This reveals a specific instance of cross-cultural literary appreciation in the Ottoman-Safavid-Mughal period.
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