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The Biography of Vahshi Bāfqi (d. 991/1583) and the Tazkera Tradition

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This paper focuses on Vahshi Bāfqi (d. 991/1583), especially on the sources for the study of his biography and works. The various editions of his collected poems are assessed. Next, all of the known early sources on Vahshi’s biography are presented, including a very important one that has not been published or cited before. Laying out all of these sources allows us to construct a more authoritative biography of the poet than has appeared to date. On a broader level, we learn that the careers and works of poets of Vahshi’s era are best understood in connection to one another. The tremendous growth of the tazkera genre in the Safavid-Mughal period makes possible this kind of research, focused on interconnectivity and cosmopolitanism in literary culture. In fact, the sources not only permit such an approach; they demand it. The paper ends with a series of recommendations for future research on Vahshi, his contemporaries, and the tazkeras themselves.

Affiliations: 1: University of Chicago


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