Qays and Layla fall in love with each other when they are young, but when they grow up Layla's father doesn't allow them to be together. Long before Nizami, the legend circulated in anecdotal forms in Iranian akhbar. The anecdotes are mostly very short, only loosely connected, and show little or no plot development. Nizami collected both secular and mystical sources about Majnun and portrayed a vivid picture of the famous lovers. Many imitations have been contrived of Nizami's work, several of which are original literary works in their own right, including Amir Khusrow Dehlavi 's Majnun o Leyli completed in , and Jami 's version, completed in , amounts to 3, couplets. Other notable reworkings are by Maktabi Shirazi , Hatefi d.
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The origin of the story. Majnun lit. The relevant sources are described and studied in a pioneering article by I. Based on various reports in these Arabic books, it can be inferred that the story originates in Arabia in the seventh century. The anecdotes are mostly very short, only loosely connected, and show little or no plot development. Despite the large number of anecdotes, the story did not develop as a unified whole in Arabic in medieval times. The lovers are forbidden to see each other.
This causes violent and perennial suffering for the lovers. They remain chaste all their lives, expressing their emotions in poetry. Made distraught by love, the lover roams the deserts alone, composing love poems about his beloved. Physical contact is alien to these stories, and when the lovers have an opportunity to meet, they sing poetry for each other while weeping.
Sometimes they swoon on seeing their love. These lovers, as Mia Irene Gerhardt , p. Despite the pangs of separation, the lover remains constant, bemoaning his unattainable union and ill fate in a poignant poetic voice. For example, the Nowfal episode is developed into a completely different event, hardly resembling the original Arabic account.
Persian verse romances are commonly about princes, and characters are usually related to courtly circles. He also urbanizes the Bedouin legend: Majnun does not meet Leyli in the desert amongst the camels, but at school with other children. A summary of the story. The plot of the romance is simple. Separated from Leyli, Majnun becomes obsessed with her, singing of his love for her in public. When he realizes that he cannot obtain union even when other people intercede for him, he grows disillusioned with society and roams naked in the desert among the beasts.
Contemplating the image of Leyli increases his love so that he cannot eat or sleep. His only activity is thinking of Leyli and composing love songs for her.
She arranges secret meetings with Majnun, and when they meet, they have no physical contact, rather they recite poetry to each other from a distance. Leyli dies out of grief and is buried in her bridal dress. Hearing this news, Majnun rushes to her grave where he instantly dies. They are buried side by side and their graves become a site of pilgrimage. In the coda, someone dreams that they are united in Paradise, living as a king and queen.
Analysis of the story. Leyli and Majnun was not the first Arabic romance to be versified in Persian. Likewise, when Leyli desires to see Majnun, she is placed in an exquisitely designed palm grove in spring. She composes exquisite poems, and takes the initiative in arranging meetings with Majnun. While married, she does not share her bed with her husband and even arranges secret meetings with Majnun.
But when Majnun comes near her, she reminds him that she is married and any physical contact is against the religious code. He is presented as a poet who is able to compose dazzling poetry in various poetic genres.
As well as being engagingly written, the poem also has a strong moral undertone, depicting the way mundane and earthly love are transfigured into a sublime spiritual force.
One important aspect of love the poet shows is that a pure mystical and God-centered love creates havoc when focused on an object in a human society and in an earthly setting. In pictorial presentations, Majnun is depicted as an emaciated ascetic. Despite its simple structure and plot, the romance is among the most imitated works in Persian, and in other languages under Persian cultural and literary influence, such as Pashto, Urdu, Kurdish, and the Turkic languages. Asadollayev names 80 poets who have written versions of Leyli o Majnun.
All these themes are then elaborated in the narrative. It is much shorter only 2, couplets and is less imbued with mystical ideas. Majnun does not fall in love at a young age with Leyli, but with another girl. He is disillusioned about love until he later meets Leyli. In another episode, in order to see Leyli, Majnun pretends to be a poor, blind man who accidentally trips and falls into her tent. The number and variety of anecdotes about the lovers also increased considerably from the twelfth century onwards.
When the king then summons Leyli and sees how ugly she is, he asks Majnun how he could be so infatuated with her. Several commentaries on this short treatise have used at least one anecdote about Majnun.
Manuscripts, editions and translations. There are numerous editions of the romance from many countries, in a variety of forms. An enormous body of lithographed publications appeared in India, and these need to be examined not only for their texts but also for their illustrations. Critical editions of the romance appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century in Persia. Alizada prepared another edition Moscow, which consists of 66 chapters and 4, couplets.
The first translation of the romance was an abridged verse rendition by James Atkinson published in ; this has been reprinted several times , In recent decades, several translations, adaptations and performances of this romance have appeared in English, of which those by Rudolf Gelpke originally in German and Colin Turner should be mentioned.
Talattof and J. Clinton eds. Leyli o Majnun, ed. Alizada, Moscow, ; ed. Hellmut Ritter, Oriens 8, , pp. Clinton, eds. Fuzuli, Leyli and Majnun by Fuzuli, trans. Huri, introduction by Alessio Bombaci, London, Laili Majnun, a poem from the Original Persian of Nizami, tr. London: Oriental Translation fund, ; second edition , Indian reprint The Story of Layla and Majnun, tr.
Gelpke with E. Mattin and G. Hill , Oxford, Lejla und Medshnun. Brown, and S. Immish, Oxford, Gignoux, Paris, , pp. Brill, Submitted tags will be reviewed by site administrator before it is posted online. If you enter several tags, separate with commas. Topic select a topic Major editions. Imitations and comparative studies. Muharamov, Moscow, Idem, Leyli o Majnun, ed. Asadollayev, Dushanbe, Primary sources. Secondary sources.
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