The geographies of 'Ajam: The circulation of Persian poetry from South Asia to the Caucasus

Rebecca Gould*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


With the consolidation of Persian literary culture across the eastern Islamic ecumene, Persian poets gained confidence in the power of their craft to shape their world. Alongside other genres, the medieval Persian prison poem (habs1¯yya¯t) strikingly illustrates how shifts in the geography of Persian extended the scope of Persian literature, aesthetically, politically and spatially. This article turns to the dissemination of the prison poem to shed light on the extensive contacts between South Asia and the Caucasus that Persian poetry facilitated. Examining the scope of medieval Persian literary culture from two peripheries of the Islamic world, I concentrate on how Persianate culture's capacious geographical imagination enables us to rethink received assumptions concerning the circulation of power, cultural exchange, and the role played by literary form in stimulating political change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-119
Number of pages33
JournalMedieval History Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2015


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