Primary Book source is Jalal al-Din Rumi. The Masnavi: Book One. Translated with an Introduction by Jawid Mojaddedi
Use this book !!!
Attached you will find an excerpt from the critical study of the Masnavi that I introduced in class yesterday, Rumi’s Mystical Design: Reading the Mathnawi, Book One by Seyed Ghahreman Safavi and Simon Weightman. This excerpt proposes a complex structure for Discourse Eight, or what we know as the story of the poor Bedouin and his wife (pp. 139-185 in Mojaddedi’s translation). As you will see, they divide the 32 sections of this passage into 4 blocks of 8. They argue that there is a chiastic structure within each block. In other words, in the first block, section 1 is parallel to section 8, section 2 to section 7, and so on. In the third block, section 17 is parallel to section 24, section 18 to section 23, and so on again. But on top of this, there are linkages between the blocks; these are presented in visual form in Fig. 3.11. It will obviously help you follow their argument if you number the sections of this story in your book
If we follow their schema, each section will be linked to two other sections. So, for example, take section 10; within the second block, this section is linked to section 15 in chiasmus. But it is also linked to section 18 in the third section according to the diagram in Fig. 3.11. Or to give another example, section 26 in block 4 is linked by chiasmus to section 31, but is also linked in parallel to section 2. Got it?
The authors give a very brief account of how these interconnections might work, and some reviewers have found their analysis an interesting attempt to account for the many echoes that run between sections of the Masnavi, but strained and implausible in its details. For your third paper (5-6 pages), please select any one section, and then analyze its connections two other sections following Safavi and Weightman’s model. You should be on the lookout for images, characters, and ideas that are either similar or opposite to one another. Your analysis should evaluate this model: Do you think the connections that Safavi and Weightman propose are valid and useful interpretations of the organization of the text? Or do these connections seem to you weak and questionable? Whichever side of this question you argue, you will need to support you case with detailed textual evidence.
We will discuss the assignment in further detail when we meet again on Tuesday next week. The paper will be due on Tuesday, April 15. As usual, your paper should follow the guidelines laid out in the Checklist for Papers.
If you planned to submit a rewrite for the second paper in class on Thursday, please send it to me electronically.
Here, finally, are the Persian terms used in this reading with brief definitions:
nafs-e ammareh = the domineering self (the part of the self that makes us pursue greed and lust)
nafs-e lawwameh = the guilty or self-reproach self (the part of the self that feels remorseful about its desires)
naf-e mutama’inneh = the contented self (the self when it is controlled by the soul or reason)
‘aql-e kolli = universal reason (the mind of God)
‘aql-e jowzi = reason as it exists in the individual