Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings

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Cornell University Press, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 197 pages
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Drawing on recent work in epic studies and oral poetics, Davidson considers analogies with Classical and medieval European narratives as she investigates the poem's social contexts. Her interpretation of the Shahnama focuses on both the figure of the poet himself and on his protagonists - the superhuman hero Rostam and the historical or historicized shahs. Exploring the Shahnama as an example, Davidson identifies as a driving force of Ferdowsi's narrative a strong current of antagonism between king and hero. Ironically, she shows, it is the epic hero himself who poses the greatest threat to the concept of kingship that he is sworn to defend. Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings enhances our understanding of the relationship between myth and epic. It will be welcomed by readers working in such fields as comparative literature, Middle Eastern Studies, folklore, literary theory, and comparative religion.

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The Authority of Ferdowsi the Poet
Ferdowsis Oral Poetic Heritage
Book of Kings Epic of Heroes

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