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  • 1/10/2005

Iran (Enchantment of the World, Second Series)

by Miriam Greenblatt

This comprehensive and well-researched series entry contains up-to-date information on population, politics, and religion. Each chapter has numerous full-color photos and sidebars. A "Fast Facts" appendix and "To Find Out More" listings that include excellent Internet sites will prove useful for reports. Greenblatt provides the right amount of facts and figures, along with the standard information about the country and its people. An attractive and well-written resource.

Shiraz in the Age of Hafez: The Glory of a Medieval Persian City (Publications on the Near East)
by John Limbert, John W. Limbert

In the fourteenth-century Persian city of Shiraz, poets composed, scholars studied, mystics sought hidden truths, ascetics prayed and fasted, drunkards brawled, and princes and their courtiers played deadly games of power. This was the world of Shams al-Din Mohammad Hafez Shirazi, a classical poet who remains broadly popular today in his native Shiraz and in modern Iran as a whole, and among all lovers of great verse traditions.

As John Limbert notes, Hafez's poetry is inseparable from the Iranian spirit--a reflection of Iranians’ intellectual and emotional responses to events. But if Hafez’s endurance derives from the considerable charm of his work, it also arises from his sure grounding in the life of his day, from a setting so deftly explored by his verse that his depictions of it retain a timeless relevance.

To fully comprehend and enjoy Hafez, and thus to understand a root force in modern Iranian consciousness, we must know something of the city in which he lived and wrote. In this book, Limbert provides not only a rich context for Hafez’s poetry but also a comprehensive perspective on a fascinating place in a dynamic time. His portrait of this elegant, witty poet and his marvelous city will be as valuable to medievalists, students of theMiddle East, and specialists in urban studies as it will be to connoisseurs of world literature.

Palaces and Gardens of Persia

Yves Porter

is a professor of Islamic art history at the University of Aix-en-Provence and at the Institute of Art and Archeology in Paris. He is the author ofThe Art of the Islamic Tile

In both decoration and design, the grand buildings and gardens of traditional Persia consistently refer to "paradise." The very word itself refers to a sense of heavenly perfection, derived from an early Iranian term for "the Shah's royal hunting grounds."

The fine touches of heaven that lie behind the colorful tiled façades of palace pavilions and mosques still shine in this richly illustrated and scholarly work. Enter gardens with intricate fountains and majestic ponds fed by water that is sourced from underground aqueducts dating to the 6th century. From ancient mirrored shrines ofShiraz and geometric gardens of Kashan to the ornate domes of Ispahan, here is a glorious photographic timeline drawn in water, brick, and ceramic ornamentation along the 3,000 years of the region's architecture.

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