The Oral Background of Persian Epics

Storytelling and Poetry


This volume discusses the indirect influence of oral transmission on the genesis and evolution of the Persian written epic tradition. On the basis of formal characteristics of naqqâli (Persian storytelling) performance, a set of formal and thematic criteria is proposed to determine the extent to which written Persian epics show structures ultimately deriving from oral performance. It is applied to the Shâh-nâme of Ferdowsi (c. 1000) and to the Garshâsp-nâme of Asadi (c. 1064-66).
The first part of the book examines the Oral-Formulaic Theory and proposes an alternative approach focusing on naqqâli. The book may be relevant to both oralists and Iranists; it demonstrates the complex process where orality interacts with written tradition in the genesis of the Shâh-nâme.
Biographical Note
Kumiko Yamamoto, Ph.D. (2000) in Persian Literature and Iranian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is an independent researcher on Persian literature, specialising in the Persian epics and oral studies. She has written on naqqâli for the forthcoming New History of Persian Literature.
Review Quotes
' I highly recommend the book to students of classical Persian literature.' Ali Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 2004.
All those interested in oral literature and tradition, epic poetry, Persian literature, the Shâh-nâme, Persian popular romances, naqqâli, as well as classists, oralists, comparatists and Persianists and Iranists.
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