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The Mystical Poems of Rumi 1 (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works.…

av Jalal al-Din Rumi

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Rumi, who wrote and preached in Persia during the thirteenth century, was inspired by a wandering mystic, or dervish, named Shams al-Din. Rumi's vast body of poetry includes a lengthy poem of religious mysticism, the Mathnavi, and more than three thousand lyrics and odes. A.J. Arberry, who selected four hundred of the lyrics for translation, calls Rumi "one of the world's greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism." "An excellent introduction to Rumi, the greatest mystical poet of Islam. . . . Rumi's scope, like that of all great poets, is universal—reaching from sensuous luxuriance to the driest irony."—Sherman Goldman, East-West Journal  … (mer)

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Esotericism, anthroposophy, New Age and other vague spiritualities are not my thing. That may be a flaw, but I cannot (any more) change my down-to-earth disposition (my wife agrees 😊). Yet I ventured into this Rumi. The 13th century Islamic poet has caused a furore in recent decades. His melodious and profound-looking verses are ubiquitous. Unfortunately, these are usually the result of major editing, especially a certain Coleman Barks has been profilic in this regard, without knowing a word of Farsi (you can find a nice overview of all aberrations concerning Rumi on this site: http://www.dar-al-masnavi.org/corrections_popular.html).
Fortunately, there are those who have gone out of their way to produce a reliable translation. In the mid 20th century, Cambridge Professor A.J. Arberry completed the present (selective) translation of the "Divan", the mystical poems of Rumi. It is – he concedes – a very literal translation, which mainly follows the meaning and much less the literary aspect. Of course, that reads less smoothly, especially because the many references of Rumi to religion and culture do require some prior knowledge.
Mystical poetry, it is not an easy genre in any religion, especially because of the intensity and magnificence that characterizes this poetry, often with hermetic content. This is certainly also the case with Rumi, but at the same time his mystical lyricism is also more accessible. After all, Rumi addresses his love lyric not only to the Almighty, but strikingly also to his great dervish teacher Shams al-Din. With Rumi, becoming annihilated in the spiritual master is the necessary step to be able to become annihilated in God/Allah. That may provide a certain ambiguity, but it is more concrete to imagine. Nature also often is present in his verses (which is also a constant in mystical poetry), and this often produces gems. Still, reading this book remains a hard task to digest. My suspicion is that his best known work, the Masnavi, may be more accessible. Maybe I should try that. ( )
  bookomaniac | Mar 22, 2020 |
This book presents A.J. Arberry's famous translations of the mystical poems of Rumi, as edited and corrected by the scholar Franklin Lewis. Lewis notes that "... many who claim to 'translate' Rumi in English do not know Persian at all; their glimpse of Rumi, and the inspiration they receive from him, in fact often relies upon the pages of Nicholson [an early translator] and Arberry ...." The translations in this book, although Arberry takes poetic license, are based on original manuscripts of Rumi's poetry. Rea Keech used quotations from Rumi as epigraphs and in the title of his novel A Hundred Veils.
  realnicebooks | Apr 26, 2019 |
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Rumi, who wrote and preached in Persia during the thirteenth century, was inspired by a wandering mystic, or dervish, named Shams al-Din. Rumi's vast body of poetry includes a lengthy poem of religious mysticism, the Mathnavi, and more than three thousand lyrics and odes. A.J. Arberry, who selected four hundred of the lyrics for translation, calls Rumi "one of the world's greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism." "An excellent introduction to Rumi, the greatest mystical poet of Islam. . . . Rumi's scope, like that of all great poets, is universal—reaching from sensuous luxuriance to the driest irony."—Sherman Goldman, East-West Journal  

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