This event is Co-Sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.
The reign of Fath-‘Ali Shah Qajar (1797-1834) witnessed an upsurge in the writing of biographical poetry anthologies (sing. tadhkira). The bulk of tadhkiras produced in the first quarter of the nineteenth century CE were commissioned by the shah, and almost all of them dealt exclusively with the production of Persian poetry in Iran from the fall of the Safavids in the first quarter of the eighteenth century CE, to the 1820s. Through focusing on the poetry of contemporaries and near contemporaries, early Qajar anthologists sought to draw a line under the so-called “Indian Style” (sabk-i Hindi) of the Safavid-Mughal period, and also to appropriate retrospectively the mid-eighteenth-century neoclassical poetic movement which has become known as the Bazgasht-i adabi for the new Qajar polity. This lecture will examine the dynamics at play in two key tadhkiras of the early Qajar period with specific reference to hierarchies of social status, and the anthologists’ desire to redraw the literary geography of Iran as they saw it.