After the Arabs’ conquest of Iran,Persian literature reappeared on the social scenario of Iran in the eight century A.D. However was the first poet of Iran who began the literary traditions of Persian literature. His neo-Persian poetry was destined to travel beyond the eastern frontiers of Persia.The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the Masnavi of Rumi, the metaphysics of Persia –the intellectual and artistic expressions of Persia over the ages began to show universal attractions.Persian language and literature found a second home in the Indian subcontinent where the medieval poets and writers and orientalists engaged themselves in their academic and scholarly pursuits. Western scholars accorded a warm reception to the Persian literature by translating and trans-creating the major works of Persian into English and other major European languages. Matthew Arnold was the first poet critic who made the story of Rustam and Sohrab of Shahname available in English literature. Besides the western reception, Indian people and society also engaged themselves in the pursuit of Persian language and literature. It resulted in birth of genius poets like Amir Khusrow, Iqbal and intellectual such as Maulana Azad to name a few. Beyond Persia, Amir Khosrow played the role of Rudaki to the development Persian poetics and stylistics. Iqbal’s philosophy of Khudi and Bekhudi repeated the Masnavi of the Persian mainland in Hindustan. Maulana Azad has used the ideas of many Persian poets and writers for the expression of his own thoughts and ideas in his seminal Ghubar-i-Khatir. Apart from the prose and poetry, literature of Akhlaque and Adab also found its way in the Moghul Court in India where writers like AbulFazl and Mohammad Baqir Najm Sani came forward with their work- Ain-i-Akbari and Mauiza-i Jahangiri respectively and gave similar message to Indian society as it was in Persia by Nizam-ul-MulkTusi and NaseeruddinTusi etc.
The Panel entiled Persian Beyond Persia shall consist of five papers (1) Rustam and Sohrab and Sohrab and Rustam: A Comparative Study by Syed Mdkazim(2) Amir Khosrow the Father of Indo-Persian literature by NahidMorshedlou (3) Poet Begets Poet: Ghalib and Iqbal A Case in Point by Golam Moinuddin (4) Reception of Hafez in the Works of Azad by Ramzan Ahmed (5) Capital Punishment in Indo-Islamic Advice Literature: Ideas and Practice by ZeyaulHaque
Rustam and Sohrab is one of the epic stories of the Shahnameh which has attracted the admiration of many intellectuals of the world. This literary masterpiece of Firdausi has made its impact on English literature through translations by William Jones, James Atkinson, J.W.Clinton and Warner Brothers. Matthew Arnold is the only poet critic who has applied his genius and introduced the Persian epic as one of the greatest tragedies in world literature. While other Orientalists just limited themselves to the translation of the story of Rustam and Sohrab, Arnold moved a step ahead of them by his art of transcreation. Refraining from simple translation, he transcreated the story of Rustam and Sohrab as Sohrab and Rustam and brought many changes into it. Nevertheless, Arnold kept the original theme of the story intact and successfully preserved the spirit of the great Persian tragedy in which a son unknowingly being killed by his own father.
The aim of this paper is to compare the poem of Sohrab and Rustam by Matthew Arnold with the original text of Rustam and Sohrab by Firdausi and present the artistic and poetic elements in the masterpiece of Arnold in English literature.