MES 321K • RUMI AND THE PERSIAN SUFI TRADITION
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
Since the mid-1980s, collections of English translations of the Persian verse of Mowlana Jalaloddin Rumi (1207-1273) have found 500,000+ customers, making this premier Middle Eastern "Sufi" poet a bestselling author in the West and one of the most popular poets in America. In the late 1990s, feature articles on Rumi in The New York Times and Newsweek Magazine described Rumi as a cult phenomenon in the contemporary world. For poetry lovers in the Persian-speaking world (e.g., Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan), Rumi stands with Ferdowsi, Nezami, Sa'di, and Hafez as a poet of the first rank and the preeminent "mystical" voice in Persian literary culture. This Persian literature-in-translation & and Islamic Culture course examines the Rumi phenomenon through a close reading of English versions of representative texts in the three-fold context of the history of Islam from the middle of the 7th century CE to the end of the Baghdad Caliphate in 1258, the rise and nature of Islamic mysticism (= Sufism) in the Middle East, and traditional Persian literature. Additional information will be provided by the instructor.
Recitation and participation 30% Two review tests (20% each) Term paper 30%
The Koran; Islam: the Straight Path Updated with a New Epilogue (2004); Rumi-Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (2007); A course packet.