In this talk, Leila Anvar will evoke the history of love poetry in Persian literature and show how the classical themes and images of profane love were gradually transmuted into a language that expressed mystical love and longing.
An analysis of poems by Rudaki, Nezami, Rûmi and Hâfez will explore how poetry was the only possible answer to the feeling of exile, separation and longing, be it worldly or spiritual. It is only through poetic evocation that the gap of absence can be filled and the beauty of the Beloved can be described. The powers of the poetic language are the media through which the soul is awakened and made aware of its separation from the primordial Beauty.
Former student of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Leili Anvar holds a PhD in Persian literarture. She is junior professor at the Institut des Langues et des Civilsations Orientales. Her interest in the cultural expressions of mystical inspiration is manifold. As a specialist of Persian mystical literature she has been translating Rûmî, Shams-e Tabrizi, ‘Attâr, Nezâmî and more modern writers, but she also braodcasts a weekly programme on spiritual issues at the radio (France Culture). She is also a poetic performer, designing and participating in poetic recitals of mystic poetry accompanied by various musicians in different contexts (Festivals of Sacred Musics –Fès, Grasse, Perpignan- Avignon, UNESCO, Théâtre de la Ville, Théâtre d’Antibes). Her publications, besides academic articles, include Rûmî (Entrelacs, 2004), Orient, Mille ans de poésie et de peinture (Éditions Diane de Selliers, 2005), Rûmî, la Religion de l'Amour (Seuil, 2011). She has also published a new translation in verse of the Canticle of the Birds (Editions Diane de Selliers, 2012, new edition 2014) and the first French translation of a selection the spiritual teachings of Ostad Elahi, Paroles de Vérité, Albin Michel, 2014.