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Literary Connections: Bahār's Sabkshenāsi and the Bāzgasht-e Adabi

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image of Journal of Persianate Studies

The bāzgasht-e adabi (literary return) school is generally portrayed in modern historical studies as a reaction to the so-called sabk-e Hendi (Indian style) of poetry, which is said to have dominated Persian letters during the reign of the Safavids. Much of the terminology we use to discuss this movement— sabk, for instance—as well as the qualitative arguments are taken directly from scholars of the early twentieth century, and from Malek al-Sho'arā' Mohammad Taqi Bahār (d. 1951), who coined the phrase bāzgasht-e adabi, in particular. Despite the pivotal role with which the bāzgasht poets are credited, their work is little studied and the influence of twentieth century nationalism on our conception of these poets and their place in literary history is not clearly understood. By exploring the complex social ties among the earliest representatives of the school, we gain a deeper understanding of the motivations and methods of transmission among the poets beyond the framework which a nationalistic approach provides.


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