Nezami

nezami

Today, according to some sources, is the 800 anniversary of the death of the poet Nezami or Nezāmi-ye Ganjavi, so-called because he was born in the city of Ganja, in the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan. His  formal name was Niżām ad-Dīn Abū Muḥammad Ilyās ibn-Yūsuf ibn-Zakī ibn-Mu‘ayyad, and he is the author (shaper, rather, from a range of preexisting Arabic folk materials) of  “Layla and Majnun” — maybe the most popular of romantic epic poems— and four other such epics, plus a shorter body of qasidas and ghazals. Right now we seem to have only one prose translation in English by Colin Turner available — this edition tries to sell itself by claiming on front flap and back cover that the story inspired “rock star” Eric Clapton to write his song “Layla.”

Laila and Majnun at School: Page from the Khamsa of Nizami

Laila and Majnun at School: Page from the Khamsa of Nizami

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