Rumi: Rhythms of Creation (COMPLIT 179)
This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the thought, poetics, and legacy of one of the towering figures of Persian letters, Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273). After discussing the literary ancestors (Sana'i, `Attar), we will trace the mystico-philosophical foundations of Rumi's thought through close readings of the lyrical (Divan-e Shams) and narrative poems (Mathnavi-ye ma`navi), the prose works (Fihe ma fihe), and the letters. Literary analyses will be followed by an exploration of music as a structuring principle in Rumi's work and the role of sama` (spiritual audition) as a poetic practice. From there, we will look at the ritual and symbolism of the dervish dance, the foundation of the Mevlevi order, the interconnectedness of space (architecture) and poetic form that is exemplified in the Mevlevi dervish lodges, and the literary and philosophical echoes of Rumi in Ottoman culture, above all Seyh Galip's masterpiece Hüsn ü Ask (1782). The course will be complemented by digressions on Rumi in contemporary Persian and Turkish music, including live musical performances. Open to undergraduates and graduates. Taught in English.