The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Smash Cut, Flannery, and City Poet delivers the first popular biography of Rumi, the thirteenth-century Persian poet revered by contemporary Western readers.
Ecstatic love poems of Rumi, a Persian poet and Sufi mystic born over eight centuries ago, are beloved by millions of readers in America as well as around the world. He has been compared to Shakespeare for his outpouring of creativity and to Saint Francis of Assisi for his spiritual wisdom. Yet his life has long remained the stuff of legend rather than intimate knowledge.
In this breakthrough biography, Brad Gooch brilliantly brings to life the man and puts a face to the name Rumi, vividly coloring in his time and place—a world as rife with conflict as our own. The map of Rumi’s life stretched over 2,500 miles. Gooch traces this epic journey from Central Asia, where Rumi was born in 1207, traveling with his family, displaced by Mongol terror, to settle in Konya, Turkey. Pivotal was the disruptive appearance of Shams of Tabriz, who taught him to whirl and transformed him from a respectable Muslim preacher into a poet and mystic. Their vital connection as teacher and pupil, friend and beloved, is one of the world’s greatest spiritual love stories. When Shams disappeared, Rumi coped with the pain of separation by composing joyous poems of reunion, both human and divine.
Ambitious, bold, and beautifully written, Rumi’s Secret reveals the unfolding of Rumi’s devotion to a "religion of love," remarkable in his own time and made even more relevant for the twenty-first century by this compelling account.
Brad Gooch is the author of the acclaimed biographies City Poet and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, as well as other nonfiction and three novels. The recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
Table of Contents
1 "In a lightning flash from here to Vakhsh" 11
2 Samarkand 26
3 On the Silk Road 43
4 "Fire fell into the world" 61
5 Konya 77
6 "I kept hearing my own name" 93
7 "The face of the sun is Shams of Tabriz" 115
8 Separation 147
9 "I burned, I burned, I burned" 173
10 "Last year in a red cloak … this year in blue" 201
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