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Vis and Ramin [Hardcover]

By Fakhraddin Gorgani & Dick Davis (Translator)
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Item description for Vis and Ramin by Fakhraddin Gorgani & Dick Davis...

Vis and Ramin (Mage Publishers; $45; 576 pages) is one of the world's great love stories. It was the first major Persian romance, written between 1050 and 1055 in rhyming couplets. This remarkable work has now been superbly translated into heroic couplets (the closest metrical equivalent of the Persian) by the poet and scholar Dick Davis.

Vis and Ramin had immense influence on later Persian poetry and is very probably also the source for the tale of Tristan and Isolde, which first appeared in Europe about a century later.

The plot, complex yet powerfully dramatic, revolves around royal marital customs unfamiliar to us today. Shahru, the married queen of Mah, refuses an offer of marriage from King Mobad of Marv but promises that if she bears a daughter she will give the child to him as a bride. She duly bears a daughter, Vis, who is brought up by a nurse in the company of Mobad s younger brother Ramin. By the time Vis reaches the age of marriage, Shahru has forgotten her promise and instead weds her daughter to Vis s older brother, Viru. The next day Mobad s brother Zard arrives to demand the bride, and fighting breaks out, during which Vis s father is killed. Mobad then bribes Shahru to hand Vis over to him. Mobad s brother Ramin escorts Vis to her new husband and falls in love with her on the way. Vis has no love for Mobad and turns to her old nurse for help. . . .

Told in language that is lush, sensual and highly inventive, Vis and Ramin is a masterpiece of psychological perceptiveness and characterization: Shahru is worldly and venal, the nurse resourceful and amoral (she will immediately remind Western readers of the nurse in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet), Vis high-spirited and determined, Ramin impetuous and volatile. And the hopeless psychological situation of Vis s husband, Mobad, flickers wearily from patience to self-assertion to fury and back again.

The origins of Vis and Ramin, are obscure. The story dates from the time of the Parthians (who ruled Persia from the third century bce to the third century ce), and certainly existed in oral and perhaps written form before the eleventh century Persian poet Fakhraddin Gorgani composed the version that has come down to us.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   517
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 14, 2008
Publisher   Mage Publisher
ISBN  1933823178  
ISBN13  9781933823171  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Books & Reading > Reference
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Middle Eastern
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > History & Criticism > Literary Theory
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Folklore & Mythology
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Encyclopedias > Literature

Reviews - What do customers think about Vis and Ramin?

A marvelous love story  Aug 4, 2008
Translation isn't easy, especially from a language whose aesthetic is as far from that of English as is Persian's. Dick Davis has mastered the art of translating Persian epic into sprightly rhymed couplets. Davis' translation of Attar's "Conference of the Birds" is a classic, and "Vis and Ramin" is even better, a wonderful love story with vivid characters. You'll read it like a novel.

An extra treat is that this story comes from the time before all Persian love stories came to be mixed up with mysticism: it's just a deeply human love story.
What a translation, what a poem...  Jul 11, 2008
After having read other tranlations by Dick Davis, I couldn't wait for this book to be published. This book once again astound me, both the story & the translation. Even though it has many pages, I carried it throughout my international trip & I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Thanks to the author, this beautiful story is now accessible to a much larger population & many can enjoy one of the best love stories. The only trajedy in the story, is that it ends... I wish there was a second and third volume to this book.
One of the greatest love stories of all time  Feb 25, 2008
Before Romeo and Juliet, before Paolo and Francesca, before Tristan and Isolde, Vis and Ramin sighed and suffered. This gorgeous poem, beautifully rendered in rhyming couplets by the poet Dick Davis, tells a story that is both familiar and completely foreign to the western reader. Vis falls in love with her husband's brother... there's a sly nurse who orchestrates secret trysts... But the greatest pleasure in this poem, beyond the thrill of discovering a precedent we didn't know existed, is the sheer glory of the language. I quote from a description of a battle, early in the poem: "And, elsewhere, sudden arrows entered eyes / Like sleep that takes a warrior by surprise; / Like love, spears pierced through hearts, and like good sense / Axes split open heads and arguments. / It seemed that swords found out exactly where / God placed the soul with such abundant care, / And where men's flesh was opened by the blade / The soul fled through the gaping wound it made."

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