Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

Front Cover
Penguin, 2006 - Fiction - 886 pages
Among the great works of world literature, perhaps one of the least familiar to English readers is the Shahnameh: ThePersian Book of Kings, the national epic of Persia. This prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi between the years 980 and 1010, tells the story of pre- Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion in the seventh century.

As a window on the world, Shahnamehbelongs in the company of such literary masterpieces as Dante's Divine Comedy, the plays of Shakespeare, the epics of Homer- classics whose reach and range bring whole cultures into view. In its pages are unforgettable moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief.

In tracing the roots of Iran, Shahnamehinitially draws on the depths of legend and then carries its story into historical times, when ancient Persia was swept into an expanding Islamic empire. Now Dick Davis, the greatest modern translator of Persian poetry, has revisited that poem, turning the finest stories of Ferdowsi's original into an elegant combination of prose and verse. For the first time in English, in the most complete form possible, readers can experience Shahnamehin the same way that Iranian storytellers have lovingly conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand years.

 

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SHAHNAMEH: The Persian Book of Kings

User Review  - Kirkus

Western readers should welcome this "huge panorama of conflict and epic adventure," announced as the fullest prose translation yet of the 11th-century national epic of Persia (now Iran).Written over a ... Read full review

Every Iranian needs this book.

User Review  - thefatherland - Overstock.com

It is after all our national poem. It is also a great source of TRUE Iranian names for your children instead of names from neighboring ethnic groups. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
xiii
THE FIRST KINGS
1
THE DEMONKING ZAHHAK
9
THE STORY OF FERAYDUN AND HIS THREE SONS
28
THE STORY OF IRAJ
36
THE VENGEANCE OF MANUCHEHR
47
THE TALE OF SAM AND THE SIMORGH
63
THE TALE OF ZAL AND RUDABEH
70
THE OCCULTATION OF KAY KHOSROW
346
ROSTAM AND ESFANDYAR
371
THE DEATH OF ROSTAM
423
THE STORY OF DARAB AND THE FULLER
441
SEKANDARS CONQUEST OF PERSIA
456
THE REIGN OF SEKANDAR
472
THE ASHKANIANS
529
THE REIGN OF ARDESHIR
554

ROSTAM THE SON OF ZALDASTAN
104
THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR BETWEEN IRAN AND TURAN
110
ROSTAM AND HIS HORSE RAKHSH
131
ROSTAM AND KAY QOBAD
134
KAY KAVUSS WAR AGAINST THE DEMONS OF MAZANDERAN
142
THE SEVEN TRIALS OF ROSTAM
152
THE KING OF HAMAVERAN AND HIS DAUGHTER SUDABEH
174
THE TALE OF SOHRAB
187
THE LEGEND OF SEYAVASH
215
FORUD THE SON OF SEYAVASH
281
THE AKVAN DIV
299
BIZHAN AND MANIZHEH
306
THE REIGN OF SHAPUR SON OF ARDESHIR
574
THE REIGN OF SHAPUR ZUL AKTAF
577
THE REIGN OF YAZDEGERD THE UNJUST
600
THE REIGN OF BAHRAM GUR
622
THE STORY OF MAZDAK
679
THE REIGN OF KESRA NUSHINRAVAN
685
THE REIGN OF HORMOZD
717
THE REIGN OF KHOSROW PARVIZ
774
Ferdowsis Lament for the Death of His Son
792
THE STORY OF KHOSROW AND SHIRIN
810
THE REIGN OF YAZDEGERD
832
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About the author (2006)

Abolqasem Ferdowsi was born in Khorasan in a village near Tus in 940. His great epic, Shahnameh, was originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan. Ferdowsi died around 1020 in poverty.
Dick Davis is currently professor of Persian at Ohio State University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His translations from Persian include The Lion and the Throne, Fathers and Sons, Sunset of Empire: Stories from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, Vols. I, II, III.
Azar Nafisi is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, an international bestseller.

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