One Poet Among Many: Hafez and the Transregional Literary Networks of 14th-Century Iran

With Guest Speaker Dominic Parviz Brookshaw, PhD
(Associate Professor of Persian Literature, University of Oxford)

Friday, September 27, 2019
6:30pm Registration opens
7pm Lecture and Q&A
*Reception with light refreshments to follow
UBC Robson Square, Lecture Theatre C305, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver

Free & open to the public. Registration is essential here by September 18, 2019.

Lecture abstract:

Hafez of Shiraz (d.1390) is arguably the most famous of medieval Iran’s great poets. More than six centuries after his death, Hafez’s verses continue to inspire, console, and provoke us today. Though undoubtedly a giant in the Persian poetic canon, Hafez has for far too long been studied in splendid isolation. There are many who still believe that Hafez’s poetry is incomparable and should not be read in tandem with that of others. But the truth is that Hafez was but one poet among many in fourteenth-century Iran who worked alongside one another in a profoundly competitive and intertextual environment. Hafez and his contemporaries imitated one another’s poems, challenged one another repeatedly in verse, and vied with one another to secure lucrative royal patronage. This lecture will examine the motivations behind these acts of imitation in order to present a more balanced reading of Hafez, one that stands in opposition to the traditional depiction of the poet, and is, consequently, more faithful to Hafez’s historical reality.

Speaker bio: 

Dominic Parviz Brookshaw is Associate Professor of Persian Literature at the University of Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College, Oxford. From 2011-2013 he was Assistant Professor of Persian Literature and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Professor Brookshaw currently serves on the Editorial Board of Middle Eastern Literatures and, for a decade (2004-2014), he served as Assistant Editor for Iranian Studies. He is a former member of both the Board of the International Society for Iranian Studies, and the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies. Professor Brookshaw has published widely on medieval and modern Persian poetry. His monograph, Hafiz and His Contemporaries: Poetry, Performance, and Patronage in Fourteenth-century Iran was published in February 2019 by Bloomsbury.

About the Alireza Ahmadian Lecture in Persian and Iranian Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was a devoted former student, supporter of UBC’s Asian Studies department, and beloved member of Vancouver’s Iranian community. UBC’s Asian Studies department has renamed this lecture series in his honour for the 2019/20 academic year. Click here to see the full list of lectures for 2019/20.
At the University of British Columbia, we see how education underpins society; it empowers individuals, energizes communities and creates opportunities to change the world for the better. To improve intercultural understanding and awareness among its diverse student body and the global community it serves, UBC is taking a leadership role in teaching and building research excellence in Persian language and Iranian studies. To find out more about this work and to get involved, please click here.