Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Divan of Hafiz is one of the glories of Persian literature in its golden age and a classic of Eastern literature. Hafiz was the pen name of Shams al-Din Muhammed, a Persian who, early in his life, turned to the serious study of philosophy, poetry, and theology. The pen name he adopted means “a man who remembers,” a title normally bestowed upon persons who commit the Qur՚n to memory. In Hafiz’s case, the title was not unwarranted, for he was a dervish who taught the Qur՚n in an academy founded by his patron.
While The Divan is the best known of Hafiz’s works, he also wrote in various other patterns common to Persian poetry. The Divan itself is a collection of short poems, lyric in quality, in the form known as ghazals. In the original Persian, these poems consist of from five to sixteen couplets (called baits). The particular poetic form has been compared to the ode and the sonnet in English-language poetry because of the lyric qualities, the length, and the subject matter. One curious feature of Hafiz’s ghazals is that the last two lines normally contain the poet’s name. The first line of each ghazal introduces the rhyme, which is repeated in every other succeeding line within the poem.
Although relatively little known in the Western world, Hafiz’s Divan has remained the most popular poetry ever written in his native land. It has even been considered...
(The entire section is 1162 words.)
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