About the Book
“In the arts and learning be not proficient like me,
Lest by the great you will be despised like me.
If you desire favors from the masters of our time
Beg shamelessly, play the lute and be a libertine.”
Obeyd-e Zakani, who died in 1372 is among the great poets of Iran but little known in the West. This selection of his work is the first to be translated into English. Obeyd was a remarkable satirist and social critic who looked upon his world of extravagant indulgence and corruption with the censorious eyes of a Juvenal, and portrayed it with the cynicism and wit of a Voltaire, and the hilarious grotesqueness of a Rabelais. He used scathing stories and sardonic maxims to paint a world full of deceit, greed, lust, sycophancy, and perversion, where old values and virtues were scorned and extremes of wealth and poverty, violence and bloodshed were the order of the day.
“One night a thief broke into the house of a poor man. The man woke up and said,
‘My dear fellow, what are you searching for in the dark that we look for in daylight and don’t find?'”
About the Author
Hasan Javadi was born in Tabriz, Iran to a distinguished family of administrators and scholars. He has taught English and Persian literature at the University of Cambridge, Tehran University and the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author and translator of numerous books, including Satire in Persian Literature, and Persian Literary Influence on English Literature. For Mage he translated Obeyd-E Zakani: Ethics of the Aristocrats and Other Satirical Works. His translations include: Forough Farrokhzad’s Another Birth and Other Poems, and with Willem Floor, Abbas Qoli Aqa Bakikhanov’s The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & Daghestan; and Evliya Chelebi’s Travels in Iran and the Caucasus, 1647 and 1654. He edited Letters From Tabriz: The Russian Suppression of the Iranian Constitutional Movement.
Now retired, Dr. Javadi lives in the Washington DC area, where he is working on original scholarship and translations of Persian literature