Mapping a Persian Literary Sphere, 1500-1900

>From the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C.>>John Haskell: Well,
welcome, everybody. I’m John Haskell, the
director of the Kluge Center. The Center welcomes you. Our staff welcomes you. The Center, as some of
you know in the room, brings together scholars
from around the world. They both stimulate and energize
each other and they distill wisdom from the Library’s resources. And they also interact sometimes
with the policymakers here in Washington and, of course,
the public like in this event. Kevin Schwartz, who’s the feature
today, is currently a researcher at the Oriental Institute of the
Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague where he focuses on Iran
and the Persianate world. Previous positions include being — having been a Kluge Center Fellow
here at the Library of Congress. So he’s decided to drop back by. Distinguished visiting professor
and chair of Middle East Studies at the Naval Academy
in Annapolis, Maryland. Kevin’s PhD is from the University
of California at Berkeley. He has a master’s degree from
the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies and
a BA from Columbia University. In this presentation Dr.
Schwartz uses tazkirahs — authoritative collections
of Persian literary works to map divergent conceptualizations
of the world of Persian literary culture by
connecting them to one another through their geographically
and historically diverse use of documented sources and methods
of cataloging and classification. Doctor Schwartz shines a light on how different individuals
demarcated the conceptual and geographic boundaries of the
19th century Persianate world and shows the hidden value
of the tazkirah genre as an historical source for
documenting the intellectual, social, and cultural life in
the wider Persianate world. Please join me in welcoming Kevin. [ Applause ]>>Kevin Schwartz: Okay. Well, thank you so much
for that kind introduction. Thanks for having me back. It’s good to be back here at the
Kluge Center where I completed most of the research of this project. So I want to thank
them for hosting me. Thank you to the [inaudible]
reading room as well, specifically [inaudible]. I wrote my dissertation in that lovely reading
room about three years ago. It feels particularly appropriate
to be giving this talk here at the Library surrounded by
texts because this library is about a library of sorts. And I guess previous to this
research I was more accustomed and conditioned to
think about a library as this physically
imposing, stationary space. I never thought about
the process of movement that undergirded its functioning. It sounds a bit silly,
but I just sat at my desk. I didn’t move, the
Library didn’t move. So not much was happening. But in fact, quite a bit was. Of course, libraries collect
texts from near and far. They circulate and distribute
them internally and externally. People come to use their texts. And, of course, through these
texts, through these collections that are housed in the library,
different people are connected — an author with a reader
and two readers who are looking they same
text, maybe citing it in their own scholarly work, maybe
paraphrasing it or plagiarizing it. And, of course, these
process of movement that undergird a library don’t
necessarily need to relate to a central physical location,
but I think they also can relate to wider networks of texts that
aren’t in one location and spread across a vast geographic land. And that’s really what I’m
going to talk about today: A transregional collection of texts
stretching across Islamic Eurasia in the early modern and modern
period that serves as a library of sorts, a circulating accessible
repository of texts made available to users across vast lands who
understood them more or less as a type of bounded collection. Now, using a collection of texts
that are produced and circulated across an expansive geographic
space, I think goes a long way in understanding how people
were connected with one another through shared cultural,
social, and textual norms on a transregional basis. And to highlight some of these
features, I’m going to look at one particular type of text, arguably one of the most
prevalent genres produced in the early modern/modern period
across all of Islamic Eurasia, a work written in Persian and
dedicated to the recording of lives of Persian poets, and
that is the tazkirah. And hopefully I’ll be able to first
demonstrate how understanding these text collectively as a library
of sorts provides insight into a vast transregional
space, constantly shifting and refashioning itself, and second, how mapping technology can
elucidate these trends. So what I’ll do is I’ll break
my talk into three parts. First I’ll look at the tazkirah, kind of explain what
a tazkirah is — some of its features,
organizational methods. Then I’ll explain a bit about
mapping, this tazkirah library, building my own database. And then we’ll look at some of
the shifts and transformations in this library, how it was
constructed and refashion itself, morphing and eventually
contracting over time. So what is a tazkirah? Well, the etymology
goes back to the Arabic from the root dhkr,
to recall or remember. And it could be loosely defined
as a biographical anthology or biographical dictionary as its
purpose was to collect, collate, and organize the lives and activity of the individuals it
sought to remember. And in this way may be thought
of as a precursor to a who’s who. And these texts can include
entries on ten individuals or thousands of individuals. And more importantly, it
was a widespread genre that appears throughout
Islamic history in different languages and formats. So it appears in Ottoman Turkish,
and Arabic, and [inaudible] Persian. It relates to the lives
of scholars, Sufis, sultans, and, of course, poets. And here you just see one
of the most famous ones, [inaudible] Biography of Saints. And [inaudible] when the Library of Congress World Digital Library
is actually originally in Persian, but it was translated
into Ottoman Turkish. So I’m only going to focus on
Persian text about Persian poets, but I want to be clear that this
constellation of texts is embedded in a wider textual economy
that is multilingual. So what are the major
features of this text? Well, they’re usually broken
down into three parts. First you have the
introduction that includes praise. And that’s praise for Allah, the Prophet Muhammad,
and perhaps a patron. And after that you have in the
introduction the author’s biography where he gives his own
biographical details and also lists the
reasons for writing. So this is from a tazkirah Bustan-e
sokhan that’s found in Hyderabad. And here this panel is the
beginning page was introduction. And he’s highlighted it with
this word [foreign language, which is after. So basically, “After I’ve given
praise to Allah and the prophet, now I’m going to tell
you about myself. I’m going to tell you where
I’ve come from, what I’ve done, and here’s the reason for writing.” After that, you have
the text itself. And they’re usually
organized alphabetically. So all the entries with biographical
details of the individuals, followed by their births. And here’s, again, the
heading, [foreign language]. So the section that begins
with [foreign language]. And here’s the first poet imam whose
name begins with [foreign language] or his pen name begins
with [foreign language]. And then we have a couple
lines about his life, how he was a good poet, he
worked with Persian and Hindi. And afterwards you have his verses. Now, these texts in
general can be divided into two types of organizations. First you have the general type
of tazkirah, which is an overview of poetry of previous centuries. So here the author tried to
represent the entire spectrum of Persian poetic production, including his own contemporary
times. And these texts tend
to be quite long, the longest one I found
is [foreign language], which was produced
in 1790’s in Banaras. And that listed 3,300 individuals. Now, opposed to that, you can
also have a specialized text, which focused on remembering a
more restrictive group related to a court, one’s contemporaries,
literary salon, or geography. And based on what you
chose, if you’re going to write a generalized specialized
text, that’s going to define in many ways your organization. So these grand compendiums of
the whole historic production of Persian poetry usually divided
chronologically, ancients, moderns, contemporaries, some kind
of variation therein. And then you had the
specialized ones which you have a whole
variety of permutations. Maybe it’s one geography. Maybe it’s one particular
court where poets were active. The permutations are really endless. You have, for example, [foreign
language] who was talking about local poets during his time. And he divided his text
according to those Hindu poets who produced Persian and Muslim
poets, who produced Persian. And now is probably a good time
to note that Persian poetry, its production, wasn’t restricted
to one ethnicity — the Persians — nor was it restricted to
one religion, Muslims. It was open to all
faiths and ethnicities. Now, you can break down these
tazkirahs into two types, just know there is
some overlap there. Even if someone’s focusing on
dynastic poets of one court, they’ll often situate it in relation
to a previous [inaudible] just to you give you a little context. So there is some overlap indeed. And how one constructed these texts or how they organized
them was equally impacted by their own parochial intentions
and their access to sources. So many authors who were in
search of patronage sought out to record the lives of
royals, an elite patron, poets of a royal court
composing poetry. And this impulse to
attract patronage and [inaudible] work can lead
to the same author, in fact, reworking their work
multiple times over — adding to it, tweaking it slightly so it may be repackaged
for a new patron. So in the early 17th century
you have the author Taki Kashi from Kashin in Iran,
he writes this work. He dedicates it to [inaudible]
shah, then he sprints across the Persianate world. He rewrites it slightly,
slaps on a new dedication, gives it to another shah
to receive his patronage. I’m not going to be
too critical of them because tomorrow I’m
giving a version of this talk slightly different
but more or less the same. In addition to seeking
out patronage, others compiled their texts
simply as matters of scholarship, trying to record the participants
of an ever-growing core of Persian poets whether in their
immediate locale and elsewhere. And of course, I mentioned the
way they organized these texts or the way they constructed them
was often based on the sources that were accessible to them. So, for example, people who
traveled, you had the author of Mardom dideh, who wrote his book in Awrangabad in India
in 1761, 1762. He donned the garb of the Sufi
wanderer, and he wandered around, he started collecting versus. But he was very clear about the
versus he was going to include and the lives of individuals
he would include in this particular tazkirah
would only be those people he saw with his own eyes, Mardom dideh
— excuse me — people seen. And he comes up with
63 such individuals who he records in his tazkirah. What you’re seeing here is just one
little map to get a taste of it. I’ll come back to it later. But here I tried to plot the
author movement from 1600 to 1900. So you get a sense of how
transregionally connected places in Iran, Afghanistan,
and South Asia were. And what you’re seeing
here is you’re seeing a dot which signifies an
author’s birth place. And then you have the line
which signifies the route and the arrow leading to the place
where they produced their text. So just give you a sense
of how far people traveled to produce these texts for a
variety of reasons, maybe in search of an opportunity or other reasons. Now, people didn’t have to
travel or don the Sufi garb. You could be like Reza
Qoli Khan Hedayat. And I’m realizing somehow makes into all my presentations
that one picture of him. He composes on Majma al-fosaha, which was the largest six-volume
work in [inaudible] Teheran in 1871. He didn’t travel, he
sat at the court. He stayed put and he let
the texts come to him. He took all these texts
that were working their way up the bureaucratic network at
the [foreign language] estate. He used them and created
this massive tazkirah called Majma al-fosaha. I think his predecessor in
Isfahan did him one better, Mohammad Taqi Nasrabadi, who
wrote his Takirah-ye Nasrabadi. And he did so by hanging out in
the coffee houses and coffee houses of Isfahan around Naqsheh Jahan, which is right there,
still existing today. It was built by Shah [inaudible]. And he went to the coffee houses
and there he kind of hung out, rubbed elbows with various
individuals and poets. It was a kind of open mic night. People would talk and recite their
poetry, maybe they recite tales of other poets they heard about. People would come from far and near. And so he collected all these tales,
just staying put in coffee houses, ended up producing this great
tazkirah, which is an ode to Isfahan and all the people who came
and conglomerated in it. And ends up being one
of the most widely read and circulated texts moving forward. But most importantly, what
was used for the compilation of tazkirahs were other sources. And so what happened was these
tazkirahs authors would come into contact with other works. They’d take bits from their
entries and they used them to compile their own works. These authors then took
this information culled from this transregional library,
stuff they cited, paraphrased, repackaged, and used it to create
their own tazkirah that was sent out to the transregional library,
which would be become part of the collection to circulate
anew and used by other authors. So, again, just like the previous
map I gave with author movement, this is a map that shows tazkirah
citations from 1700 to 1900. So the original dot is a
source, the line is a route from where that source traveled. At the end of the line
you have an arrow that shows you a particular text
— that text was used by it. You would have, for example,
you know, a text somewhere in central India, a lot
of arrows coming to it. That means that one particular
text used quite a bit of sources. And, again, just as an element to show you how transregionally
connected and interconnected this sphere
was through texts and tazkirahs. So I hope this very brief account
of the tazkirah features is able to signify that it’s
really the ideal text to ascertain the ways people
were connected through production and circulation of texts across
a vast transregional space by participation in a
shared literary sphere. And because it’s known
for the most part where and when these texts were produced and because they often
referenced other sources like you’re seeing here, one can begin to map this literary
sphere using digital technology based in a database. And I should add here that until
recently the tazkirah genre has been more or less disregarded
by historians. People would go to it just to
reference one particular verse of poetry to see if it was correct or referenced a particular birth
date or death date of an author. So in the words of AKS Lambton,
she said, “Their interest, if any, to the historian is the witness
they bear, the special literary bent of the Persian people, and the
place of the poet in society.” Now, however, various scholars are
using tazkirah for a whole variety of projects — to reconstruct
individual biographies, uncover literary debates,
reconstruct poetic networks, and a host of other issues. Now, my goal here is to take
kind of macroanalytical approach to the topic, a larger bird’s eye
view, leveraging quantifiable data to look at this literary
sphere in general and understand its major features
and how it shifted it over time. So what have I been doing? More or less all of last year
was creating the database. Through primary and
secondary sources, I created these own individual
entries on an author and his text. So here you can just see an example. I have the author’s name. I have his place of birth. You can see I don’t have his
birth date or death date — for some I do, for some I don’t. And, of course, the name of the
text, the date of completion, and the place of completion. And I was able to create entries for about 200 texts
between 1200 and 1900. But, again, you can see I don’t have
information for every row there. And of these texts, I have
geographic and temporal data for about 145 of them — that is
the date and place of production. It’s these texts that I used
to map this literary sphere. So now let’s look at some maps. Here’s the growth expansion of the
tazkirah library from the period under discussion —
this little video. And it takes a while to get going. There weren’t many tazkirahs
produced between 1221 and 1487. Just look for its expansion
over time and where these texts
are cropping up. [Inaudible] one more
time if you can. [ Inaudible ] Okay. So a lot can be
gleaned from this map, particularly how tazkirah
production’s growth over time or different spaces intersected with
social and political phenomenon. So let’s start in the pre-16th
century — or pre-1600, rather. I mean, not much happening. There are a couple of texts that
begin to crop up beginning in 1221 and [inaudible] emergent
in Herat, and then later with the emergence of
the Moguls in Delhi. But you can see this
kind of migration of text moving eastward
that’s much in line with where Persian was
moving at that time. In the 1600 to 1700
period, you really begin to see the emergence of [inaudible]. And this is very much in line
with the rise of the Mogul states. The Moguls were an empire
that ruled in India based out of Delhi from 1525 to 1857. They lost power in
the late 17th century. But Persian was their
administrative language. And finally — or, not
finally, going on to 1700, 1800, now you see this map that shifts. Suddenly we have the migration
of centers of production leaving that center in Delhi and moving
to other places in north India and now you’re further south. And this is very much in line
what’s happening at the time, which is the fracture and the
breakup of the Mogul empire. So that core of Delhi
is no longer there, but centers are migrating elsewhere. Poets are finding new
opportunities to produce their text and record various poetic activity. And I’ll talk about
that more in a moment. And then finally in
the 19th century, you see a continued
relevance of South Asia, but suddenly you see an
explosion of tazkirahs in Iran. And this is in line
with the Qajar state, which existed in Iran
from about 1801 to 1925. And I’ll talk about that
in a moment as well. But all these vast tazkirahs that
are being produced there are more or less in line with
the rise of that state. So another visualization
is to look at it this way. Just see the growth of tazkirah
produced over time and you could see over here there’s a steady increase from the pre-1600 period
to the 19th. But at the same time that
doesn’t really give us an idea of how it intersected with
political trends at the time. So what we need to do is break
it down into smaller units. And here it’s going
to be a lot easier to scrutinize tazkirah production and the way they intersected
with political events. And what you can see —
it should be clear — is there are two intense
periods of increased activity: One from 1725 to 1775 and
one from 1800 to 1840. And so I’ll talk about
those two in turn. Why did you have these
increased times of [inaudible] production,
tazkirah production? Well, the first intense shift,
the first kind of increased period of tazkirah growth was the
result of political upheaval. So you had the breakdown
of the Mogul state in the late 17th —
late 17th century. And this led to dispersal of the Persian litterateurs
throughout India. Places in north India, but
also places further south. And you had their increased
participation in non-court literary organizations,
which led to their amplification. And, of course, you had the
emergence of new courts. So you had successor states cropping up after the breakdown
of the Mogul empire. And that led to new opportunities for various poets and
tazkirah authors. And just to remind ourselves to
go back to this production map, that’s basically what
you’re seeing here. So with the breakup of the Mogul
empire, you have a migration of various little tourists
who are going to very north Indian urban
centers [foreign language], and they’re also coming
further south into the new court that was cropping up in Hyderabad. So I think what you can say is two
things about this shift here is one, it may be assumed the fraction of Mogul power further
amplified the importance of already existent urban literary
salons and social gatherings as major venues of
quite a production that instigate a greater
tendency among those participants to record their activities. So you didn’t have the
anchor of the state, you didn’t the umbrella
of patronage. And what happened, these authors
left, they started mingling with their friends who
were non-court [inaudible] literary salons. And I think they felt this urgency
to start recording that activity without the apparatus of
the state behind them. Additionally, the second instance
for people who were going south like the state in Hyderabad,
what these states did, they actually served as magnets
attracting human poetic capital. Individuals were versed
in Persianate literary and administrative
norms from elsewhere. So these new states
emerged, they had to rely on Persian administrators
as functionaries. And so they served as magnets
to attract various individuals. And one of the processes
or effects — or one of the effects of this
literary migration was the injection of a new crop of litterateurs who
were not only poets themselves but carried with them tales,
stories, and verses of other poets with whom they’re acquainted
elsewhere. In other words, the dispersal of the
litterateurs following the fraction of the Mogul empire led to a
higher concentration of poets in certain locales
and the amplication — amplification of poetic
activity there. And the growth of tazkirahs during
this time, I think, is a reflection of this redoubled vibrancy. You can go back and look at
the author movement map here. And this is the previous
century before the Mogul kind of fractioning of power. And you can see there’s a lot
of transregional movement. People are moving from Iran and
back to produce their tazkirahs. But in the period of
Mogul fracturing, you really see a whole fluttering
of activity now around them — people moving around, finding
new venues and new outlets to produce their poetry
and record poetic activity. So the other intense
shift, the other moment of increased poetic production is
the emergence of the Qajar state. And that happens in
1801 or 1800 here. And 53 tazkirahs were
produced under Qajars — that’s 60% of the 19th
century tazkirahs. And tazkirahs at this time really
became a state project of producing, collecting, and collating works. And the Qajars, they used
bureaucratic networks to collect all these works, send
them up the bureaucratic pipeline, and create the vortex of poetic
production relevant to their rein. So from the case of India, the breakup of the Mogul
empire lent itself to a kind of horizontal distribution
of tazkirah production. For the Qajars it became a
process of vertical integration, the collection of texts for outside
localities in Iran into Teheran. In other words there became interest in collecting information
specifically in locales during their rein
and throughout their lands to create a massive compendium to demonstrate their
contributions to poetic culture. So from the early days of their
rein, the Qajars invested themselves in reconstructing a
library of tazkirahs. Serving as patrons,
collectors, and composers, the ruling family helped
churn the wheels of production and use the Qajar state
bureaucracy to commission, collate, and compose works. The result was the transformation of
a once decentralized library cutting across regions into one that was
now circumscribed to focus squarely on textual production
in Iran itself. Royals, elites, and
government officials served as the primary patrons
of tazkirah production. The work of poets located in
Iran during the Qajar period, many times the poetry of
Qajar period itself served as a primary focal point. In other words, what they were doing
is they were reconstructing this tazkirah library in their
own image, localizing it, and making it relevant to
their own contributions. And here, again, you can see
tazkirah production [inaudible] production there. It’s happening right around
the center in Teheran. And even a better map
of that is here. This is a kernel density map, which essentially is collating
both geographic and temporal data to show you where the highest
dense points of production are. And you can see while that
exist in Isfahon and Shiraz, it’s clearly centered
around Teheran. So this process to remake
the tazkirah library in their own image really
begins with Fath Ali Shah and continues after his death. And you can see this decade break
kind of tazkirah production more or less corresponds by type to
his rein, which is right in here. And it’s attributable
to his efforts. So Fath Ali Shah, he
commissioned works related to [inaudible] production
throughout the lands, in particular places
outside of Teheran. And Qajar [inaudible] themselves
commissioned works often in praise of themselves in a host of cities. And these texts made
their way up the pipeline to create more general works,
which he did in his rein and his successors did as well. Now, we had some help
in this regard. He had 48 sons, many
of whom were scattered in various government
positions across Iran and eager to establish their own cultural bona
fides, they had texts commissioned by their own local poets
oftentimes in praise of them. And these local efforts, too,
were sent to their father so he can create his
own over-arching text. And even absent the commissioning
of works, other works solely devoted to poets of individual cities like
[inaudible], Shiraz, [inaudible], and elsewhere began to crop up. And even the one commissioned
by the Qajars, they were used for the same purpose. And, again, we can get back
to the author movement here and just see unlike previous
periods, there was not a lot of transregional movement
leaving Iran. All of a sudden there’s
all these opportunities to create texts based
on local circumstances. So obviously it’s situated
in Teheran, but there are places elsewhere where
people didn’t have to go very far or not leave at all
to create those works. And those dots you see, those
are reflective or signify people who were born in one place
and also produced their texts in that place as well. So, again, something has
definitely shifted here. There are now new opportunities for
poets to record their local efforts. And all these efforts are
being kind of funneled up into the central state
and the bureaucratic pipeline to create massive texts
under Fath Ali Shah later, one of which is Majma
al-fosaha, which we saw earlier, by Reza Qoli Khan Hedayat. The last example I think I’ll give in this regard how I think this
literary space was changing and how this kind of terrace
regional library’s being localized is by looking at citations. So while the citation of a text
by another can mean a variety of things, from a scholar
using a cited text as source to one simply wishing to
bad their bibliographies, I think what it can tell us is how
individual authors conceived their literary universe and how
they came to view their works. So here you have a citation network
from 1700 to 1800, and, again, it’s quite vast, interconnects
places from Afghanistan to
Iran and South Asia. And you have the same map
here for the 19th century. So, again, very vast. I would say there’s more of
a concentration internally in South Asia and Iran,
but there still are those transregional connections. The only problem with this
map is it’s a bit misleading, it doesn’t distinguish between
author citing a text produced in the 19th century
versus the 13th century. So if an author used a
text in the 13th century across the Persianate
sphere, it will be mapped with a long arcing line, it doesn’t
tell us much about how local authors in 19th century conceptualized
the tazkirah library at that time. What we can do, though, and what
I’ve done is to compare two texts that have vast citation
lists in their introductions. And they occur around the
same time at opposite ends of the Persianiate world. One is Majma al-fosaha, which
I referenced several times, [inaudible] in Teheran in 1871, and Negarestan-sokhan,
which is 1875 in Bhopal. And I think what you can understand
comparing the citation list is how they began to see a more local
and less transregional type of library — a shift that was
happening certainly in Iran and also in India as well. And what’s interesting
comparing these lists — and they both list them
in their introduction, so they’re not just found in various
entries but they’re very conscious about the text they’re using — is that they only have six shared
citations and none after 1679. Additionally, they have no citations
of text from the other side of the Persianate literary sphere. So that means a 19th
century author located in Iran is not referencing
any texts in the 17th, 18, 19th century in South Asia. And likewise in South Asia, there’s
no reference to any text in Iran in the 18th and 19th century. So here’s their kind
of citation comparison. And you can see there are quite
a few lines connecting them. Their shared texts are marked
by some of these triangles. But, again, all of these shared
texts occur previous to 1679. If you remove those and just
select the texts that are produced after that period, you see
that their conceptualization and their use of sources is
certainly more circumspect. So, again, this transregional sphere
based upon tazkirah production was being localized for a variety of
reasons, particularly the efforts of the Qajars during that time. I think that’s a good
place to leave things. I hope I’ve given you a small taste of the transregional
Persianate sphere in the early modern/modern period and how highlighting various
features of one particular genre of text and how through
conceptualizing them as a library and the use of mapping
technology you can begin to understand how a vast
transregional space grew, developed, morphed, and eventually contracted. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>1 Any last questions?>>Kevin Schwartz: Sure.>>I’m curious about
a couple of things. They were very insightful. Thank you for a wonderful talk. On one of the maps [inaudible]
you showed [inaudible] to central Asia as well. And then I think it was [inaudible]
where it was a couple of items from at least one spot
in that [inaudible]. I am curious, the works that
came out of [inaudible] had to do with the [inaudible]; how much
[inaudible] are you writing of [inaudible]? B, in central Asia, what’s the sort of regional anomaly [inaudible]
salvation or the [inaudible] or was it more connected?>>Yeah, very good questions. First, with the case of
Baghdad, so I’m just trying to pull up the 18th to 1900 map. Yeah, I forget this exact text. That’s certainly anomaly. There aren’t many Persian
tazkirahs being produced then. I mean, it’s the furthest as
you kind of get into the kind of multilingual sphere will be
happening up in [inaudible]. And you do find collections of texts
that are including of Turkish poetry or [foreign language] poetry. As far as central Asia, you can
see there’s really a big gap. I mean, most of the texts from the
earlier period are actually produced in central Asia, mainly
around Iraq [inaudible]. One of the most famous texts,
[inaudible], comes out of there. But beyond that, I don’t have
many citations for central Asia. Doesn’t mean none exist. It means the sources — [ Inaudible ] Yeah. [ Inaudible ] 1682. Yeah. [ Inaudible ] I think it’s [inaudible]. But I’m not — yeah. [ Inaudible ] No. I mean, there were connections. I mean, I don’t remember that
exact entry and I don’t know a lot about all of these exact entries. There’s 200 of them
or 144 in this case. But no, you certainly had
examples of litterateurs going from Sentral Asia and producing
tazkirahs in South Asia. Some of the [inaudible]
exist at the time. I think that there are quite
a few central Asian tazkirahs to be discovered in
the 19th century. And that’s where I think
the real big gap is. And again, I think for me it’s a
consequence of access to sources. [ Inaudible ] Yeah. [ Inaudible ] And B, would you say
this is beginning of what has now become
a problem for the rest of Persian [inaudible]
nationalized by nation-states? And I also think maybe
in Afghanistan because they’re doing [inaudible] is
this effort to sort of [inaudible] as a — what do you call it
[inaudible] and not so much connects onto the classics of Persian
[inaudible] non-regional [inaudible] to the larger region?>>Kevin Schwartz: Yeah. I mean — I mean, no, this
is the rise of, I think, Persian nationalism, literary
nationalism in Iran that seeks to really redefine the
boundaries of [foreign language]. You know, [foreign language] at
the place of Persian production where Persians served
as a lingua franca. And it was expansive. But in this time it
begins to shrink. And one of the prime movers
in that is this sabk-i hindi, which is understood to
be this really abstruse, difficult to understand,
negatively impactful style. And, you know, I talked about
this in my dissertation, but it’s really the prime mover. I mean, what people like Hedayat — and I keep on coming back to
Hedayat — but other people do. And going into the early
20th century is they pick up on this notion that
there was this bad type of Persian poetry floating around
and necessitates the rescuing of Persian poetry by the Iranians. And they went to this
Baz Gash movement where they rekindled the
spirit of the ancient masters. They went back to Rumi,
Hafez, Saadi, and Ferdowsi. And that is pretty much the
nail in the coffin that begins to separate the two
spheres of the time. So I mean, sabk-i hindi was a big
impact later on when people began to conceptualize the borders
of [foreign language]. At this point, though, I mean, people weren’t really
thinking in those terms. I think they were just
thinking really, really locally. I think people all
of a sudden realized that local tazkirahs had relevance, that you could praise a certain
ruler wherever they were — usually one of the shah’s
sons throughout Iran — and you’d get some
kind of largess for it. And also that there were
opportunities now in the Qajar state that didn’t exist certainly in
the 18th century during the kind of Nader Shah period but also in the
[foreign language] period as well. So I think there was this kind
of renewed vigor to collect and report poetic activity. But I mean, you’re right, though, things are happening
where it’s fracturing. And these places where Persian
still existed, at least represented through tazkirahs,
are kind of dying out. They’re becoming enclaves
or islands onto themselves. And there’s other reasons
for that, too. There’s the rise of the British,
there’s the rise of Urdu. [ Inaudible ]>>They don’t go eastward. So I’m wondering if anything — has anything been found along trade
routes in China or does Persia end? And the second question
is why coffee houses? The coffee house where
— why not tea? And I’m not making any sense.>>Kevin Schwartz: No, no. So –>>But I guess it —
it surprised me. And so I was just wondering
why [inaudible].>>Kevin Schwartz: Yeah. Well, this is a — these representations are very much
a consequence of me solely focusing on Persian tazkirahs
of Persian poets. So there — I mean, I think the
most kind of prolific tazkirah that goes really outside
into regions that I haven’t highlighted
have to do with Sufis. And you definitely find Sufi
tazkirahs in [inaudible] China. There’s a recent book about it. And so that definitely exists. And you’ll find tazkirahs
of Persian and travelogues and all different types of
Persian in various places — Thailand, Nepal, Sri
Lanka, what have you. As far as coffee houses go, I can’t
answer why it was chosen over tea. But in the [foreign language]
period, they did crop up all around that square, Naqsheh Jahan,
which is still existent today and still has a lot of coffee
houses and meeting places. And that was just a space for poets. The Safed court at that time
didn’t really have a lot of opportunities for poets. So most poets who wanted to
make money, they’d either go to India or they had another job. They were usually craftsman during
the day and night they’d go hang out in the coffee houses
and recite their poetry. And luckily they had this one
amazing archivist essentially who sat there and recorded
all their works. [ Inaudible ] Yeah, there are some. There are some. And some of these tazkirahs are
solely devoted to women poets. I mean, they’re a small proportion. But even in the Qajar times,
there’s a tazkirah that’s related to women poets and specifically
those of the shah’s harem. So they usually tend to
focus on royal families. It’s much harder to find kind of
on-the-street women poets going back to early and modern times. But certainly we do
find tazkirahs of royal, elite women who are
composing poetry.>>So essentially just [inaudible]
it is that more and more — it was sort of a regional
development in Persia and [inaudible] later
trends that [inaudible]. It was just phenomena
of [inaudible]. There were a lot of the
[inaudible] regions and centers. Is that a –>>Kevin Schwartz: Yeah. I mean, again, I think it’s a good
way to explain tazkirah production at this time, that there seems
to be less transregional overlap but certainly not for Persian
language and literature in general. I mean, a lot of the great
newspapers in Persian were cropping up in Bombay, they were cropping
up elsewhere, in Istanbul. And they were crucial in the
constitutional revolution. And of course you have transregional
connections among the Parsi community and their impact in both
philology and education in Iran. So I mean, that’s the one
thing I have to square. And, you know, again, it’s a
consequence of trying to use mapping and keep it restrictive so I
can actually map, you know, a select group of texts and
not have to map of entirety of Persian literary
sphere but also be kind of more attuned to those trends. Because I mean, transregionalism
was still happening. It just wasn’t happening
in the way, you know — [ Inaudible ] Right, right. I mean, it’s going to
have to be situated in the larger kind of
transregional moment. But I think that’s, you
know, definitely, again, one drawback of this work that
doesn’t bring in different texts. And so that was my
caveat at the beginning. This is a whole kind
of multilingual sphere. There’s a whole other, you know, genre going on with [foreign
language] that also are kind of integrated into the space. But for purposes of practicality,
unless this is crowd-sourced, I just had to focus on tazkirahs. [ Inaudible ] No, it’s just — it’s
an ongoing project. And the idea is that more
people contribute to this and start creating entries
for Urdu tazkirahs as well. And you begin to see a big trend
in mid-19th century South Asia where most of the tazkirahs of Persian poets are actually
being produced now in Urdu. So they’re written in Urdu, but
then you have the actual selections that are in Persian because
it’s about Persian poets. So I’m hoping people will get
involved on that side of it. I think there are tazkirahs
for Ottoman Turkish. But, again, it’s kind of a vast
project, but I really wanted to show also the ways in which you
can use kind of mapping technology to understand transregionalism. Well, if there are
no other questions, thanks so much for attending. It’s 4:00 p.m. on Friday,
so I really appreciate it. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>This has been a presentation
of the Library of Congress. Visit us at

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