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Kashefi's Anvar-e Sohayli

Rewriting Kalila wa-Dimna in Timurid Herat

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Christine van Ruymbeke

Kashefi’s Anvar-e Sohayli (15th c. A.D.) is a Persian rewriting of the timeless and influential Kalila wa-Dimna text, done at the Timurid court. Christine van Ruymbeke offers a first in-depth analysis of the contents and style of this important text and also addresses the Kalila wa-Dimna field across its full rewriting history. This analysis shows how Kashefi’s additions function as an invaluable commentary that opens up our understanding and the appreciation of this seminal text. This studies revisits several received ideas and current misapprehensions about the text and shows why it has been such an international best-seller before being unjustly relegated to children’s literature. In Van Ruymbeke’s words, Kalila wa-Dimna is a grim text, exposing the mechanisms of sophisticated psychological manipulation and exploring universal philosophical themes, known since Antiquity and still relevant today.