Rending the Veil: Literal and Poetic Translations of Rumi

Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, Author, Shahram T. Shiva, Author Hohm Press $27.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-934252-46-1
In Islam, the spiritual and literary influence of Jelaluddin Rumi is so pervasive that the name of the 13th-century Persian Sufi leader is prefaced by the reverential term ``Maulana'' (``our master''). Rumi, notes scholar Peter Lamborn Wilson in his preface to this beguiling addition to the current Rumi vogue in the West, ``can only be compared to such Occidentals as Dante and Shakespeare.'' Nonetheless, translating Rumi's astonishingly vast legacy with accessible accuracy is almost defiantly problematic due to the combined difficulties first of parsing the ancient language in which it was recorded and then of helping Western minds to grasp the manifold nuances of the poet's transcendant vision of the Beloved (i.e., God). But native Iranian Shiva (A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi with Jonathan Star) leaps the cross-cultural chasm with engaging panache. Of the 2000 quatrains amassed in Rumi's Divvan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, Shavi has chosen 252, rendering them simultaneously in the original Persian, in verbatim English transliterations and in faithfully polished translations. The result of this interactive method is a book that provides insight into the art of translating while plumbing the depth of Rumi's inspired passion. Included are a glossary of terms, a reference guide to Persian mysticism and a bibliography. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
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