Persian Words of Wisdom Travel to the West

Seventeenth-Century European Translations of Saʿdi’s Gulistan

In: Daphnis
Elio Brancaforte Tulane University, New Orleans, Vereinigte Staaten

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This essay considers the seventeenth-century translations of the celebrated Persian poet Saʿdi’s Gulistan (1258 ad) into European languages: André du Ryer’s French version (1634), the Latin translation of Georgius Gentius (1651) and the German editions of Friedrich Ochsenbach (1636) and Adam Olearius (1654). The Gulistan – which consists of short, moralistic tales, aphorisms, proverbs, and Sufic lore – helped introduce Persian thought to the early modern European public (and later influenced Goethe’s West-östlicher Diwan as well as Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes).

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