The Poetics of Spiritual Instruction: Farid Al-Din ʿattar and Persian Sufi Didacticism (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture) (Hardcover)

The Poetics of Spiritual Instruction: Farid Al-Din ʿattar and Persian Sufi Didacticism (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture) By Austin O'Malley Cover Image

The Poetics of Spiritual Instruction: Farid Al-Din ʿattar and Persian Sufi Didacticism (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture) (Hardcover)

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Much Persian sufi literature is explicitly didactic, aiming to instruct its readers and motivate pious reform. Moving beyond a recapitulation of religious content, The Poetics of Spiritual Instruction investigates the performative function of didactic poetry for mystical audiences, focusing in particular on the verse of Farid al-Din ʿAttar, a central figure of the tradition best known for long narrative poems imbued with edifying sufi themes. Through a series of sensitive and creative readings, O'Malley shows how ʿAttar uses frame-tales, metapoetic commentary and allegories to think through his relationship with his readers, imagine and guide their reactions to his work and perform his instructive authority. By teasing out this implicit, recipient-centred poetics, O'Malley recovers sufi didacticism's participatory, interactive character and shows how the act of reading was invested with ritual significance as a spiritual exercise aimed at the purification of the soul.

Austin O'Malley is the Roshan Institute Assistant Professor in Persian and Iranian Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago, and his dissertation was cited as an honorable mention by the Foundation for Iranian Studies. His work has appeared in Iranian Studies, Journal of Persianate Studies, Al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā The Journal of Middle East Medievalists and Encyclopaedia Iranica.
Product Details ISBN: 9781474475112
ISBN-10: 1474475116
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 291
Language: English
Series: Edinburgh Studies in Classical Islamic History and Culture