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The Legend of Seyavash

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    Shah Nameh (Shiavaksh Episode) : English Translation.

    Dr. Dick Davis has once again provided us with an admirable translation of a section of the Shah Nameh in his latest publication: 'The Legend of Seyavash'. The Shah Nameh (literally meaning The Book of Kings) is the national epic of Iran/Persia and is an epic poem of roughly 50,000 lines, composed by one of Persia's greatest poet Abulqasim Firdausi and completed by him in 1010 A.D. The 'Shiavaksh Episode' translated in this monograph is a little over 2500 lines and thus represents a small fraction of the entire poem. The translation which covers 144 pages of this monograph is preceded by a 28-page penetrating and insightful 'Introduction'. The 'Introduction' is an erudite criticism and interpretation of the Shah Nameh, it's historicity and it's relevance to Persian culture. The 'Shiavaksh episode' is also discussed and compared with other episodes and it's relevance in the Shah Nameh. The Seyavash episode comprises the middle legendary section of the Shah Nameh and involves around a legendary prince named Seyavash as he struggles with his youth, adulthood and with his father Kaus (the ruling monarch). His life is a constant choosing between the good and evil options as he is a tragic victim of his king's machinations, finally dying as a result of his father's actions. The English translation is masterful and very readable. With his previous translations of other sections of the Shah Nameh already in print, Dr. Davis is now admirably poised to translate the complete Shah Nameh in the English language, this time hopefully using the Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh edition of the complete Shah Nameh. I wish him all the very best.

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