Cassandra Kay Silva's Reviews > Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

Shahnameh by Abolqasem Ferdowsi
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's review
Mar 01, 12

bookshelves: books-of-antiquity, classics, poetry
Read from February 25 to March 01, 2012

I really liked this book don't get me wrong but I am not sure if I got the best English translation? I have the deluxe penguin extended edition. It was good in some parts but other parts I just couldn't see through an eastern viewpoint, and the English poetry was all rhyming? I think a lot of the meaning would have been lost in trying to get things to rhyme? It felt like the translator was trying too hard instead of letting it flow more naturally. Some parts of the work just felt really stilted to me for some reason. Then again I am grateful that the work is available in English at all so I shouldn't complain. The stories themselves are incredible. The image of the white haired hero being raised by a bird is very memorable and some of the battles were incredible, as well as there are even a few love stories thrown in. Not to be stereotypical but I was surprised that there were female rulers in this work? Was this kosher? They seemed to be well regarded.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Bruno Oliveira My problem was exactly with the fact of not gettig through some passages. Other thing I found interesting in the book is the search for immortality finishing with a book. It invites to read Kalila and Dimna and its source The Pankatantra.

Cassandra Kay Silva Ahh Thank you for the reference ideas!

message 3: by Pooyan (new)

Pooyan Oh the stories date back before an Islamic Iran (before Arab invasion to Iran/Persia) Persia before Islamic era was so much different. There were even female commander in army. one famous is the naval commander Artemis who lead an attack to Greece (I'm not so good at history though!). So there's no speaking of Kosher/Halal in this book.Or maybe-just maybe!- if you don't see an eastern view in it is because you didn't expect a Persia like that (a pre-Islam Persia).
Another important thing about the books is it is actually what that has kept Persian language alive after Arab invasion and Islam, you take Egypt for example , after it was conquered by Arabs it lost all its original language and a lot of its culture, but this book kept Persian language alive in the years that the language was forced to be ignored and forgotten (it was the way Arabs did in that time everywhere they conquered) by its foreign rulers.
I know this review is kind of old but I was tempted to write this.
Or maybe I said what you already knew!

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