Beholding Beauty: Sa‘di’s Quest for Lyric Experience and Mystical Eroticism in the “Golestān” and the “Ghazals”

Saturday November 20, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Online Event

Poster design by Farzan Kermani

سلسله سخنرانی‌های ایران‌شناسی و فارسی‌پژوهی علیرضا احمدیان

«تماشاگهِ حُسن»: جست‌وجوی سعدی برای تجربهٔ غنایی و اروتیسم عرفانی در گلستان و غزلیات

سخنران: دکتر دومِنیکو اینجِنیتو، دانشیار ادبیات فارسی، دانشگاه کالیفرنیا، لس آنجلس

طرف‌بحث: دکتر جاستین لَنداو، دانشیار زبان‌ها و تمدن‌های خاور نزدیک، دانشگاه هاروارد

کتاب جدید دومِنیکو اینجِنیتو با عنوان «تماشاگهِ حُسن: سعدی شیرازی و زیبایی‌شناسی مِیل در شعر فارسی کلاسیک» بر پیوندهای بین جنبه‌های اروتیک، عرفانی و فلسفی غزل‌های سعدی شیرازی تمرکز دارد. در این سخنرانی، دکتر اینجِنیتو به تحلیل زمینه‌های تاریخی که غزلیات سعدی در آن پیوندهای غیرقابل‌قیاس میان تجربیات زندگی و خلاقیت ادبی ایجاد کرده است می‌پردازد.

The event recording is now available:

Domenico Ingenito’s new book, Beholding Beauty: Sa‘di of Shiraz and the Aesthetics of Desire in Medieval Persian Poetry, focuses on the connections between the erotic, mystical, and philosophical aspects of Sa‘di of Shiraz’s love poems (ghazals). The book invites its readers to rediscover Saʿdi’s ghazals through the lens of the relationship between experience and the celebration of beauty in the intellectual, political, and spiritual frameworks of medieval Iran.

This talk will approach the role of performance and performativity in Sa‘di’s ghazals through the analysis of the historical contexts in which medieval lyric poetry created incommensurable connections between life experiences and literary creativity. By drawing upon both Sa‘di’s pseudo-biographical accounts from the Golestān and the mystical ritual of listening to poetry and music for spiritual ends (known as samā‘), our conversation will introduce a new research project on lyric performance in the context of the Sufi practices and aesthetic ideals of 13th-century Shiraz.

Guest Speaker:

Domenico Ingenito is Associate Professor of Persian Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Director of the Program on Central Asia. His research interests center on medieval Persian poetry, visual culture of Iran and Central Asia, gender and translations studies, and manuscript culture. His most recent articles are: “Hafez’s ‘Shirāzi Turk’: A Geopoetical Approach (Iranian Studies)” and “‘A Marvelous Painting’: the Erotic Dimension of Saʿdi’s Praise Poetry” (Journal of Persianate Studies). His most recent book is Beholding Beauty: Saʿdi of Shiraz and the Aesthetics of Desire in Medieval Persian Poetry (Brill, 2020). His Italian translation of Forugh Farrokhzad’s collected poems, along with all original texts, will be published in 2022 by Bompiani.


Justine Landau is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, where she teaches Persian literatures and cultures. Her research focuses on classical Persian literature and poetics. Before joining Harvard, she taught at the Sorbonne Nouvelle and the University of California in Los Angeles, and was a researcher at the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her publications include various articles, book chapters, translations, and a monograph, De rythme & de raison. Lecture croisée de deux traités de poétique persans du XIIIe siècle [Of Rhythm and Reason: A Comparative Reading of Two Thirteenth-Century Persian Treatises on Poetics] (Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2013). Her next book project explores the aesthetics of occasion and circumstance in early Persian court poetry.


About the Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian and Persianate Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was an enthusiastic researcher, a consummate socio-political analyst, and an opinion leader on foreign policy who nurtured the virtues of diplomatic dialogue and liberal democracy. Alireza was a proud and devoted UBC alumnus, supporter of UBC’s Department of Asian Studies, and beloved member of Canadian-Iranian Community. The department renamed this lecture series in his honour in 2019. Alireza’s friends in the community have provided funding to support this series, and this generous gift will see these important academic and community engagement events supported through to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year. Read More …
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