Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Bodleian Library

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Yusuf and Zulaykha. Khusrau and Shirin. Layla and Majnun. For hundreds of years, Persian poets have captivated audiences with recitations and reinterpretations of timeless tales of earthly and spiritual love. These tales were treasured not only in Iran, but also across the neighboring Mughal and Ottoman Empires.

In Love and Devotion, leading specialists in literature, art history, and philosophy reveal new perspectives on these evocative stories and the exquisite illustrated manuscripts that convey them. Particularly in courtly settings, poetry was a key component of Persian cultural life from the fourteenth through the eighteenth century, and elite patrons commissioned copies of lyrical poems and epics told in verse. Beautifully presented here in full-page reproductions are more than one hundred folios from these illustrated manuscripts, representing masterful works from Hafiz, Rumi, and many others. Echoes of works by Persian poets are manifest across European literature from Dante and Shakespeare to the present, and this lavishly illustrated book reveals new perspectives on the universal theme of love.


Susan Scollay is an art historian who specializes in the art and culture of the Islamic world. She is guest cocurator of the exhibition Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond, which will travel from the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, to the Bodleian Library.

Pub Date: 2012
Format: Hardback with color illus.
Pages: 221 
Size: 9.75 x 12.75 inches

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