Natalia Chalisova’s presentation at the European Conference of Iranian Studies in Berlin
The European Conference of Iranian Studies (ECIS) is one of Europe’s largest conferences in Iranian Studies. It is held every four years and organized by the Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE). The ninth edition of the conference (ECIS 9) was hosted by the Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, in Germany and took place from 09–13 September 2019.
Natalia Chalisova took part in the panel « The Figure of Joseph/Yūsuf in Classical Persian and Judaeo‑Persian Literature» (Convener: Julia Rubanovich, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
Discussant: Justin Landau, Harvard University). She made a presentation “In the age of Hafiz: The Quranic story of Joseph retold by Persian ghazal poets.”
The Quranic story of Joseph (sura 12 “Yūsuf”), supplemented in tafsirs and stories about the prophets, is among the productive resources of Persian poetry. The romantic epic authors used the whole story and worked with the plot; through the process of narrativization and literarization it gradually became complicated and enriched with details. Three other panelists talked about different aspects of this process: Marina L. Reisner’s presentation was “The Story of Joseph/Yūsuf from the Holy Scripture to Love Romance: How is the narrative formed?”, Gabrielle van den Berg discussed “The figure of Joseph in Persian narrative poems” and Julia Rubanovich talked about the “Traditions Entwined: Jacob lamenting Joseph in the Judaeo‑Persian poem Bereshit‑nāma by Shāhīn”.
The ghazal poets of the 14th century (Hafiz, Salman Savaji, Kamal Khujandi and others) tend to accumulate such emblems in a beyt and compose allegorical images, narrating the episodes of the famous story in their own way and challenging the direction or outcome of the plot. These new patterns of the allegorical technique are under discussion in the presentation.