Revisiting the question of literary patronage under the early Safavids

Author

Beers, Theodore S.

Date of creation
2023 Gregorian
Preferred title
Revisiting the question of literary patronage under the early Safavids English
Work type
Single work
Work manifested
Article
Work genre
Textual work
Audience

Adult, serious

Summary

This article reviews an old debate in Persian literary history surrounding the judgment of early modern poetry and, in particular, the legacy of the Safavid dynasty, and argues that a few of the questions over which scholars once disagreed have not been resolved to the extent that might be suspected. The general narrative that prevailed for most of the twentieth century, in which Persian lyric poetry of the early modern era was criticized as decadent and the Safavids were denounced for having abandoned their traditional duty to promote arts and letters, is now rightly considered obsolete. As the field has developed a more mature approach to these issues, however, the question of patronage at the Safavid court has been set aside more than it has been settled. We still have not reached a comprehensive understanding of the transformations that took place in Persian literary culture from the tenth/sixteenth century onward. The migration of scores of Iranian poets to Mughal India is recognized as a key development, but the impact of the contemporary situation in Safavid lands – including, perhaps, a relative lack of patronage – merits reconsideration.

Edition in English
Year
2023
Article
Revisiting the question of literary patronage under the early Safavids
Call number
41-796 (11 (2023) 1)