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Arts, Literature

Pahlavi dynasty, Khamseh, panegyrics, Rudaki, Shahnameh

From its beginnings in the 9th century, Modern Persian literature was dominated by poetry. Important poets of the 9th through the 12th century include Rudaki, noted for his qasidas (panegyrics, or written works of praise); Firdawsi, who wrote the famous epic of pre-Islamic Iran, the Shahnameh (completed in 1010); Omar Khayyam, author of the famous Rubaiyat; and Nezami, who wrote the collection known as Khamseh (Quintet). Persian poetry reached its height in the 13th and 14th centuries with mystical poets Jalal al-Din Rumi, Sa’di, and Hafiz. Subsequently, Persian literature declined, and for nearly five centuries both poetry and prose remained uninspired imitation of past masters. A literary revival began in the late 19th century and has continued to the present. Fiction, especially in the form of the short story, has emerged as a new and important genre. Modern Iranian writers include Mashid Amirshahi, Simin Daneshvar, Ismail Fassih, Houshang Golshiri, and Moshen Makhmalbaf (who also directs films). Writers may explore many themes that were prohibited prior to the 1979 revolution, such as political freedom, rebellion against authority, satire of monarchy, and fictional accounts of suffering under the Pahlavi dynasty. However, since the revolution, works deemed to be anti-religious have been banned.

Article key phrases:

Pahlavi dynasty, Khamseh, panegyrics, Rudaki, Shahnameh, Persian poetry, Omar Khayyam, political freedom, Hafiz, Quintet, rebellion, prose, short story, beginnings, revolution, centuries, films, century, themes, authority, height, collection, form


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