Cultural and Regional Studies- In Collaboration with Sevinj Bakhysh and Izabella Horvath
Edited By Rahilya Geybullayeva
Part 2: Eastern Archetypes in the West: Rumi, Ashik-Kerib, Qurriat Al-Ayn
Part 2 Eastern Archetypes in the West: Rumi, Ashik-Kerib, Qurriat Al-Ayn 97 Renditions of Rumi in Europe and North America Simon Sorgenfrei (Sweden) Introduction In a famous essay published in 1977 the French literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes declared “the death of the author”, and simultaneously the viva- city and independence of the text. By shifting focus from author to text, the con- structive agency of the reader is advocated. The meaning of a text, according to Barthes, is created when a reader interprets it (Barthes 1977). The Sufi poet Moulana Rumi has been dead for more than 700 years, but his texts are as vibrant and influential as ever. Written in Persian in thirteenth centu- ry Turkey, the poems of Rumi have been read and interpreted as words of spiri- tual wisdom for seven hundred years in what we sometimes carelessly call “the Muslim World”. And for more than a hundred years now, his popularity has been on the rise in Euro-America. This has presented us with a great diversity of interpretations, some of which I will reflect upon in this chapter. Inspired by Barthes’ shift of focus from the authors’ intentions to the reader’s interpretation, as well as by the sociological study of religions bestowing more attention to individual religiosity than to normative or essentialist theological abstractions – I will consider three contemporary interpretations and presentations of the poetry and teachings of Moulana Rumi. The interpretations, all done in a Euro-American context, are made by, respectively, the Chishti...
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