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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part II

Course Description 2023-24

This paper uses a selection of either classical or contemporary Persian poetry and prose, to study the treatment of particular themes and rhetoric techniques. 

This course covers classical Persian prose and poetry at an advanced level.

Students are expected to be able to read, translate and analyse Persian prose and poetry, and to comment on the technical aspects of the work as well as its contents. They will also need to demonstrate their ability to scan the poetry. The course will focus on developments in the style and content of the theme of wine and drunkenness. We will analyse the rhetorical techniques in a chosen set of classical poems, qasidehs, ghazals, roba'is, masnavis, and emphasise particularly the lyric poetry of Hafez of Shiraz. We will also focus on the vexing questions of interpretation and translation of poetry in general, basing our analysis on different translations of Hafez's ghazals.

Form and Conduct

This paper is assessed in two parts – each part carries equal marks: (a) a research essay of between 6,000 and 7,500 words, including footnotes and excluding bibliography. Each student will develop the topic of the essay in consultation with the instructor. A one-page topic and paper outline will be due during the first week of Lent Term. One electronic copy (pdf) of the project shall be submitted to the Programmes Administrator in the Faculty Office so as to arrive not later than the fourth Friday of Full Easter Term; (b) a viva voce examination which will contain the reading and translation of a seen passage, a commentary on given aspects of the piece, and a discussion of the research essay.

This description is subject to change, for the latest information, students should consult the Undergraduate Handbook available on the Faculty Intranet.