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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond


Persian poetry had a profound influence on the work of the late 18th–early 19th-century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Examples of Persian literature had been available in German since the 17th century, through the translations of scholars such as Adam Olearius.

Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall’s translation of Hafiz’s Divan appeared in 1812–13 and Goethe’s West-östlicher divan (West-Eastern divan) in 1819.

This collection of 12 'books' of poems echoes the work of Hafiz in particular, suggesting that the universal themes of Persian poetry transcend perceived East–West divisions. With titles such as the ‘Book of Hafiz’, the ‘Book of Zuleika’ and the ‘Book of the Cupbearer’, Goethe overtly drew his readers’ attention to his Persian sources.

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.


Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

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