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Mirza ?abib Esfahani


MIRZA HABIB ESFAHANI, Iranian poet, grammarian, and translator (1835-93), who spent much of his life in exile in Ottoman Turkey.

He is noted for his Persian grammar, Dastur-e Zaban (Istanbul, 1872), which is regarded as the first systematic grammar of the Persian language and served as a model for many later works.

HABIB ESFAHANI, Mirza, Iranian poet, grammarian and translator, who spent much of his life in exile in Ottoman Turkey (1835-93; Figure 1). Born in Ben, in the Bakhtiari region of Iran, in 1251/1835, he began his studies in Samin before leaving for Tehran. He later spent four years in Baghdad, studying Arabic literature and Islamic jurisprudence. He returned to Tehran in 1866, but was soon obliged to flee Persia apparently on account of a poem in which he satirized Mohammad Sepahsalar and which earned him accusations of heresy (Sanjabi, p. 252). Arriving in Istanbul, he initially sought refuge in a French monastery, but soon he made the acquaintance of political and literary figures such as Ali Pasha, the Sadr-e-Azam, and Ahmad Vafiq Pasha, translator into Turkish of the works of Moliere. With their help he was able to obtain employment at the Maktab-e Solani in Galata as instructor in Persian and Arabic. Later he was appointed inspector at the Ottoman ministry of education. His literary achievements were recognized by his election to honorary membership of the Société Asiatique. He died and was buried in Bursa in 1893.


A prolific and versatile writer and translator in both Persian and Turkish, Mirz? ?abib is celebrated in particular for his Persian grammar, Dastur-e So?an.

 First published in Istanbul in 1289/1872, it is regarded as the first systematic grammar of the Persian language and has served as a model for many later works. His other works on Persian grammar and language include Dastur-ye Farsi (Istanbul, 1293/1876), Rahnama-ye Farsi (Istanbul, 1309/1891), Momaresat-e Farsiya (Istanbul, 1304/1886), Rahbar-e Farsi (Istanbul, 1310/1892) and Barg-e sabz (Istanbul, 1304/1886). Among his translations are Persian renderings of Moliere’s Le Misanthrope (Gozarey-e Mardom-goriz, Istanbul, 1292/1875) and Gil Blas, which was published as his own work by Mohammad-ibn Kermanshahi Kafri in 1904. However, Mirza Habib’s main impact on Persian prose came through his imaginative rendering in Persian, in 1886, of James Morier’s picaresque novel The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Isfahan (q.v.), which went through repeated printings in Calcutta, Lahore and Tehran (Sanjabi, p. 252). He also prepared an anthology of the work of Obayd Zakani (Montakhabat-e Obayd-e Zakani, Istanbul, 1303/1886; introduced by Henri Ferté) and selections from the Golestan of Sadi (Montakhabat-e Golestan, Istanbul, 1309/1892). Mirza Habib’s own Divan (ms. Bayazid Library, Istanbul), in which he uses the nom de plume "Dastan,” remains unpublished (Sanjabi, p. 268, n. 7), but some of his Persian poetry as well as a series of articles on the history of theatre were published in the newspaper A?tar. Mirza Habib also composed a humorous poem of twelve distichs in 1307/1889 on the occasion of the VIIIe Congrès International des Orientalistes in Stockholm. Originally published in the dinner program with the title, “Menu du diner offert au VIIIe Congrès International des Orientalistes,” it was published again in both Persian and French in the journal ayanda. The Istanbul University Library also possesses a collection of twelve manuscripts of his works, written between 1300/1883 and 1309/1892, including Majmua-ye asrar wa Qorub-e emsal,Sargozasht-e Hajji, Majmua-ye asrarr wa qawaed, Majmua-ye delgosha-ye ziba.

(Tahsin Yazici)

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

Other Links:

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Background and Achievements of Amir Kabir


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