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ISBN 1-56859-187-X
Publication 2006

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Ilex Foundation Series #Bibliotheca Iranica: Intellectual Traditions Series #12

Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings

By: Olga M. Davidson

A milestone in Persian Classical literature, Ferdowsi's Book of Kings evokes a long span of Iranian history and myths following a chronicle of its kings from the creation of the world to the conquest of Iran by the armies of the Moslem Arabs in the latter half of the seventh century. Drawing on comprehensive research in oral poetics and epic traditions, as well as on her own thoughtful reading of other monumental works of world literature which have been so influential in shaping our present day notions of national and cultural identity, Professor Davidson enhances our understanding of the relationship between myth and epic and orality and literary history. The radical revaluation of long held assumptions is buttressed by close attention to the text itself. These frequent textual references provide the reader with the scope and opportunity to assess the evidence for the searching questions and propositions posed by the book in the closely connected fields of comparative literature and religion, and literary theory and history. Cover image: Illustrated manuscript folio, Khavaran-nama. A visionary encounter depicting the author receiving inspiration from Ferdowsi as the arch-poet. Shiraz, Iran, Turkoman Period, ca. 1480. Ink, colors, and gold on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1955 (55.184.1). Photograph ©2005 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.