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This volume is a collection of essays on classical Persian literature, focusing on Persian rhetorical devices, especially imagery and metaphors. The various contributions discuss the origin and the development of debate poetry, the transmission of Persian and Arabic tales to the works of Europeans medieval authors such as Boccaccio and Chaucer, but also the development of Aristotelian poetics and epistemology in Persian philosophical tradition. Furthermore, the baroque style of the Shiʿite author Ḥusayn Vāʾiẓ Kāshifī, the use of wine metaphors by mystics such as Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Ḥāfiẓ’s original use of candle metaphors, the translation of Khayyām’s metaphors into English, and the importance of a single metaphor in the epic Barzū-nāma are discussed.

Contributors include: F. Abdullaeva, G.R. van den Berg, J. Landau, F.D. Lewis, N. Pourjavady, Ch. van Ruymbeke, A. Sedighi and S. Sharma
This is the first systematic examination of the esoteric significance of the bawdy tales and explicit sexual passages present in Rūmī’s (d. 1273) Mathnawī, a masterpiece of medieval Perso-Islamic mystical literature and theosophic teachings. Using the relevant features of postmodern theories as strategic conceptual tools, and drawing on the recent interpretations of medieval kabbalistic texts, it is a fascinating examination of the link between the dynamics of eroticism and esotericism operative in Rūmī’s Mathnawī. In some of these bawdy tales, the phallus is used as an esoteric symbol. The book concludes that these tales are used primarily to communicate esoteric secrets, particularly when this communication is contemplated along gender lines, mediated through erotic imagery, or expressed in sexual terms.