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Junc­tion Press 2011
ISBN 9781881523222

from the Introduction

Often called the nation­al epic of Iran, the Shah­nameh, or Book of Kings, was writ­ten in the 10th cen­tu­ry by Abolqasem Fer­dowsi, who took as his sub­ject the pre-Islam­ic his­to­ry of the Iran­ian peo­ple, start­ing with the cre­ation of the world and end­ing with the 7th cen­tu­ry Mus­lim Arab con­quest of the Per­sian empire. The poem.…represents an act of cul­tur­al resis­tance, an asser­tion that the val­ues and tra­di­tions of ancient Iran were still rel­e­vant despite three hun­dred years of Mus­lim Arab rule.…Nonetheless, Ferdowsi’s intent in writ­ing the Shah­nameh was nei­ther hereti­cal nor sedi­tious. He was both a devout Mus­lim and loy­al to his king. What Fer­dowsi want­ed was to place Iran square­ly at the cen­ter of its own nar­ra­tive, push­ing back against the revi­sion­ist his­to­ry some Ira­ni­ans were cre­at­ing in order to rec­on­cile Iran’s past, ide­o­log­i­cal­ly and oth­er­wise, with that of the dom­i­nant Arab Mus­lim cul­ture.

Read Some Excerpts and Buy This Book 

Richard Jef­frey New­man’s trans­la­tion of these sto­ries from the Shah­nameh is cre­ative, smooth, and delight­ful to read.

In this com­pelling trans­la­tion of the Iran­ian epic, Richard Jef­frey New­man has giv­en a new gen­er­a­tion of read­ers access to this clas­sic tale of pol­i­tics, devo­tion, war and peace-mak­ing. New­man’s own nar­ra­tive and lyric gifts as a poet make this a must-have vol­ume.

Kaz­im AliAuthor of Fast­ing for Ramadan & Co-trans­la­tor of The Oasis of Now: Select­ed Poems by Sohrab Sepehri

Newman’s selec­tion is accu­rate in pre­sent­ing the tales he’s cho­sen to cov­er, and he’s done so in a form that hon­ors those whose sto­ries he is rep­re­sent­ing. This is a tidy ver­sion of a clas­sic and indis­pen­si­ble human sto­ry, full of lessons and obser­va­tions which remain time­less. Let’s have more trans­la­tion of these tales from Mr. New­man pub­lished in the future.

Patrick James Duna­gan & Ava Kooh­borGalatea Res­ur­rects #17

At a time when Amer­i­cans need to look deep into Iran­ian cul­ture, Richard Jef­frey New­man’s excel­lent trans­la­tion of Fer­dowsi’s Shah­nameh opens a win­dow on a lit­er­ary work that is so embed­ded in a the col­lec­tive Per­sian con­scious­ness that it seems a part of the dai­ly life of every Iran­ian. New­man’s ver­sion main­tains the ele­gance and nobil­i­ty of the orig­i­nal.

Iraj AnvarBrown Uni­ver­si­ty, trans­la­tor of Say Noth­ing: Poems of Jalal al-Din Rumi in Per­sian and Eng­lish
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