THE INFLUENCE OF HAFIZ ON WESTERN POETRY

Sarjana 24 (2) (2008)
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Abstract
This article examines the influence of the Persian mystic poet Hafi z on western poets. Interest in Hafiz started in England in the eighteenth century with the translations of Sir William Jones. In the nineteenth century, the German translation of Baron von HammerPurgstall inspired Goethe to create his masterpiece Westöstliche Divan (West-Eastern Divan). The poetry of Hafiz evoked such passion in Goethe that he referred to him as ‘Saint Hafiz’ and ‘Celestial Friend’. Inspired by Westöstliche Divan, a number of German poets including Rückert and Platen composed volumes of poetry on the model of ghazal, the popular poetic form perfected by Hafi z in Persian literature. Prominent among the German thinkers influenced and fascinated by Hafiz was Friedrich Nietzsche who repeatedly mentioned him in his works. The influence of Hafiz stretched to America in 1838 when Ralph Waldo Emerson read Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan. In Hafiz, Emerson found a man who derived pleasure in the very elements which others found mean. Under the influence of Hafiz’s Saki-nameh or the Book of Wine, he created his finest poem Bacchus which, according to Harold Bloom, set the terms for the dialectic of American poetry.
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