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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
41675 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
MEZ 1.122

Course Description

Upper-division standing required. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary. This introductory medieval literature course deals with the most famous narratives in Persian literature, the episodes in Ferdowsi's Shahname [Book of Kings] (1010). The course is designed specifically (but not exclusively) for Iranian-American studetns who have heard about Ferdowsi and his Shahname in family and Iranian-American social circles and who guess that knowing about the poet and being able to read his epic narrative have cultural and social significance. Conducted in Persian, course sessions consists of a line-by-line reading of the story of "Rostam and Sohrab," the most famous episode in Ferdowsi's Shahname. In its 1000+ closed couplets, the story of "Rostam and Sohrab" offes students of Persian not only a classic text, but also examples of most of the language features which distinguish pre-modern from modern Persian. Consequently, the course serves both to introduce students to an important text and to prepare them to deal with other medieval Persian literary texts on their own. The course text is The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam (Univeristy of Washington Press, 1996, revised edition), which contains a parallel English translation. A packet of syllabus ntoes called "Ferdowsi and the Persian Epic Tradition" will be available for purchase at Pardigm Books on teh first day of the course. Included in the packet are M. Hillmann's "Translation as Interpretation: Ferdowsi's Rostam and Sohrab." Iranshenaise 1 (1989): 53-71; "Ferdowsi's Sohrab as a Laudable Anti-patriarchal Force in Iranian Culture." Iranshenasi 2 (1990): 27-36 (English section); and "Translation as Poetry: Ferdowsi's Story of Siyavash." Iranshenasi 5 (1993): 3-16.

Grading Policy

Undergraduate: Class participation (30% of course grade), two review tests (20% of the course grade each), and a term paper (30% of course grade. Graduate: Class participation (30% of course grade), two review tests (20% of course grade each), and a term paper and a research paper of 8-14 pages on an assigned topic (30% of course grade).


The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam (1996, revised edition). "Ferdowsi and the Persian Epic Tradition" Course Packet


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