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By Hamid Dabashi

What does it suggest to be human? Humanism has ordinarily thought of this question from a Western point of view. via an in depth exam of an unlimited literary culture, Hamid Dabashi asks that query anew, from a non-European perspective. The solutions are clean, provocative, and deeply transformative. This groundbreaking learn of Persian humanism provides the unfolding of a convention because the artistic and subversive unconscious of Islamic civilization.

Exploring how 1,400 years of Persian literature have taken up the query of what it capacity to be human, Dabashi proposes that the literary unconscious of a civilization can also be the undoing of its repressive measures. this is able to account for the masculinist hostility of the early Arab conquest that accused Persian tradition of effeminate delicacy and sexual misconduct, and later of clinical and philosophical inaccuracy. because the distinct female unconscious of a decidedly masculinist civilization, Persian literary humanism speaks from a hidden and defiant vantage point-and this is often what inclines it towards inventive subversion.

coming up neither regardless of nor due to Islam, Persian literary humanism was once the inventive manifestation of a sophisticated urbanism that emerged within the aftermath of the seventh-century Muslim conquest. faraway from the language of scripture and scholasticism, Persian literary humanism occupies a different universe of ethical duties during which "a really apt lie," because the thirteenth-century poet Sheykh Mosleh al-Din Sa'di writes, "is greater than a seditious truth."

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This defense of humanism by Edward Said, in effect trying to separate humanism as such from European and Eurocentric humanists, did not sit well even with his closest followers. “So, who is responsible for the divorce of the cultural realm from questions of power,” asks Rajagopalan 24 Introduction Radhakrishnan in a poignant criticism of Edward Said’s persistent defense of humanism, in which he points “the fi nger quite steadily at humanists and intellectuals. ”33 Radhakrishnan rightly identifies the root cause: “If humanists and intellectuals .

In the morning, when they are about to leave, Sa di notices that his friend has put together a bouquet of freshly cut flowers to take home. At this point Sa di turns to his friend and tells him not to bother with these fresh flowers for in a few days they will perish. ” Golestan, literally “flower garden” (or “rose garden”), is thus composed of flowers that will never perish. Sa di fi nishes his introduction by telling his readers that the spring season in Shiraz was still around and fresh flowers abounding when he had fi nished his Golestan.

The lyrical subject— thus made metaphorical ly fragile— at the heart of Persian lyricism is ipso facto decentered, unreliable, evasive. That already decentered subject is further fragmented and made uncertain by the gender-neutral Persian pronoun, which becomes frivolously interpolated with the bisexuality and homoeroticism vastly evident in Persian lyrical poetry. This homoeroticism becomes particularly poignant in the ghazals of Rumi, whose poetry further exacerbates, obfuscates, and camouflages this decentered subject.

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