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Academic Profile

Dr Firuza Abdullaeva-Melville is a graduate (BA, MA honour) of the Iranian Philology Department, Faculty of Oriental Studies, St Petersburg University, where she received her PhD in Iranian philology, Art and Islamic Studies in 1989. She was an Associate Professor at the University of St Petersburg when she joined the Cambridge Shahnama Project in 2002 after a term at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and a term at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) as a Fulbright Professor. From September 2005 until September 2010 she was Lecturer in Persian Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Keeper of the Firdousi Library of Wadham College. From October 2010 she is the Head of the Shahnama Centre, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.

Sample Publications

Commentary on the Qur’an (An 11th century Lahore manuscript). Preface, Translation into Russian and Commentaries + facsimile, Moscow, 2001. The Persian Book of Kings: Ibrahim Sultan's Shahnama. The manuscript of the Timurid Shahnama of 1435 in the collection of the Bodleian library (co-authored with Ch. Melville). In series: Masterpieces of the Bodleian, Oxford, 2008. Early Persian Exegesis. Persian Commentaries on the Qur’an, St.Petersburg, 2000. The Courtly Life of a Poet: Farrukhi from Sistan (11th century C.E), St.Petersburg: “St. Petersburg University Press”, 2000. Persian Classical Poetry (10-11th centures C.E.), St.Petersburg, 2002. Tales of a Parrot. Facsimile of Professor V.Zhukovskiy’s text with introduction and commentaries, Saint Petersburg, 2006. The Pen. The Ambassador of Thoughts: Islamic calligraphy from the Wellcome library (contribution on Persian calligraphy), ed. N.Serikoff. Chicago: The Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL/Serindia publications, 2007. Articles: “The Unknown Shahnama from Ann Arbor”, in: Manuscripta Orientalia, International Journal for Oriental Manuscript research, vol.11, No 1, March 2005, Thesa, St.Petersburg, pp. 28-61. “History of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, its library and the manuscript collection”, in: Luminous Kazan (to the 1000th anniversary of Kazan). St.Petersburg, 2005, pp. 30-32, 246-250. “Divine, Human and Demonic: Iconographic Flexibility in the Depiction of Rustam and Ashkabus”, in: Shahnama Studies I, ed. Ch. Melville, Pembroke Papers 5, Cambridge, 2006, pp. 203-219. “What’s in a Safina?”, in: A Treasury from Tabriz: the Great Il-Khanid Compendium, eds. A.A.Seyid-Gohrab& S. McGlinn, Amsterdam-Lafayette: Rozenberg Publishers, 2007, pp. 46-68. “Persian Female Poetry”, in: Arts: Poets and Poetry. Iran: Classical (Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures), vol. v, Practices, Interpretations, and Representations, gen. ed. Suad Joseph, Brill, Leiden, 2007, pp. 46-47. “Illustrated Shahnama manuscripts in the collection of the National library of Russia”. Proceedings of the conference on the 250th anniversary of the National Library of Russia, St Petersburg, 2007, pp. 37-65. “Valentin Alekseevich Zhukovskiy", Encyclopaedia Iranica, online. “The Bodleian manuscript of Asadi Tusi’s Debate between an Arab and a Persian: its place in the transition from ancient debate to classical panegyric”, in: Iran, Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, vol. XLVII (2009), pp. 69-95 + 6 illustrations. “Origins of the genre of munāzara in New Persian Literature”, in: Persian Metaphor, Leiden, Brill, 2009, ed. by A. Seyed-Gohrab, 25 pp. “Shahnama: the Millennium of an Epic Masterpiece” (guest editors’ introduction, co-authored with Ch. Melville), in: Iranian Studies, Journal of the Association for Iranian Studies, Oxford: Routledge, vol. 43, number 1, February 2010, pp. 1-11. “Kingly flight: Nimrūd, Kay Kāvūs, Alexander, or why the angel has the fish”, in: Persica, Leiden: Peeters, 23, 2009-2010, pp. 23, 1-29 “Persian manuscripts collection of the St Petersburg University: Gotwald’s curse?”, in: Writings and Writing from another world and another era Investigations in Islamic Text and Script in Honour of Dr Januarius Justus Witkam Professor of Codicology and Palaeography of the Islamic World at Leyden University, eds. R. M. Kerr & T. Milo, Cambridge: Archetype, 2011, pp. 1-23. “The Shahnameh in Persian literary history”, in Epic of the Persian Kings: the Art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, London-New York, 2010, pp. 16-22. “Ferdowsi: ‘a male chauvinist or a feminist?”, in: Painting the Persian Book of Kings: Ancient Text and Modern Images, ed. M. Milz, Cambridge: Talking tree books, 2010, pp. 103-120. In print: “Russian perception of Khayyam- Fitzgerald’s poetry”, in: Proceedings of the conference “Legacy of Khayyam”, dedicated to 150th anniversary of Fitzgerald, Leiden: Brill, 2010. “The role of women in the romances of the Shahnama”, in: Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond, ed. Susan Scollay, Melbourne: Macmillan Art Publishing and Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011. “The Legend of Siyavush or the Legend of Yusuf?”, in: proceedings of the Millenium Shahnama conference, Mumbai: CAMA Oriental Institute, 2011. “From Zulaykha to Zuleika Dobson: femmes fatales in Persian literature and beyond”, in: Ferdowsi, The Mongols and Iranian History: Art, Literature and Culture from Early Islam to Qajar Persia, eds. R. Hillenbrand, A.C.S Peacock and F. Abdullaeva; “Khosrow Mirza’s mission of 1829, or why Fazel Khan Garrusi wanted to stay in St Petersburg”, in: Proceedings of the conference “Empires and Revolutions: Iranian-Russian encounters since 1800”, ed. S. Cronin, London: I.B. Tauris, 2012.

Current Position

Head of Shahname Centre, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge