University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > How complex can this be? Let me introduce you to the Haft Paykar, a narrative poem composed in Persian by the giant poet Nizami of Ganja (12th C. AD)

How complex can this be? Let me introduce you to the Haft Paykar, a narrative poem composed in Persian by the giant poet Nizami of Ganja (12th C. AD)

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  • UserCristine van Ruymbeke, Soudavar Professor of Persian Literature and Culture Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Graduate Tutor and College Praelector of Darwin College
  • ClockTuesday 19 October 2021, 13:15-14:00
  • HouseDarwin College, Richard King Room.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nebojša Radić .

The poet Nizami of Ganja was born in the 1140s AD in present-day Azerbaijan, in the town of Ganja where he seems to have remained till his death in the early years of 1200s. This was a time of political instability and intense intellectual activity. He was not a court poet, but he wrote for ad hoc patrons who might have influenced his choice of topics and narratives. We know almost nothing about his life, but we have his words that have reached us in the form of five long narrative poems written in Persian. He was an extraordinary poet, both an unequalled artist and a deep, fine and refined thinker. His poems were immediate best-sellers and were copied over and over again, sometimes in fabulous de-luxe illustrated form for the wealthiest of princes across the Persianate world. Nizami has influenced and inspired generations of poets to the present day.

Haft Paykar, or Seven Beauties, is a marvellously complex work written in his later years. It fascinates and it baffles and annoys. It seems that it managed till now to resist analysis. We cannot fully make sense of it. This talk will introduce the work and give brief insights in my research on it, telling about some victories and especially about the many question marks that remain.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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