"A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" at Library of Congress
An exhibition currently on view at the Library of Congress, “A Thousand Years of the Persian Book,”
showcases the rich literary tradition of Persian books over the last millennium. Starting about 1,000 years ago,
Persian was a common cultural language with a rich literary tradition that spanned Iran and other Persian-speaking
areas of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus.
The Persian collection in the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division is the source of most of the
exhibition’s 75 items—considered to be among the most important collection in the world today outside Iran.
Works in the exhibit include ancient illuminated manuscripts up to contemporary publications, including the
10th-century “Shahnameh” (Book of Kings), and pieces from virtually every other area of writing: children’s
literature, modern and contemporary literature, work from the 18th and 19th centuries, folklore, poetry and more.
The lead curator, Hirad Dinavari, is reference specialist for the Iranian World Collections at the
Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division.
If you’re in the Washington area, a lecture series runs through September, cosponsored by the Roshan Institute
for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.
Wednesday, July 9, University of Maryland
"Librarians, Patrons and Poets: The Personal Dimension of Persian Manuscripts"
Amy Landau, Walters Art Museum
Wednesday, July 23, Library of Congress
"The Printing Press as an Agent of Tradition in Iran: Revisiting Elizabeth Eisenstein’s The Printing Press as an Agent of Change"
Ulrich Marzolph, University of Goettingen, Germany
Wednesday, Aug. 13, Library of Congress
"The Persian Book in Pre-Modern Turkey"
Ahmet Karamustafa, University of Maryland
Wednesday, Aug. 27, University of Maryland
"Forough Farrokhzad’s Biography and Unpublished Letters"
Farzaneh Milani, University of Virginia
Wednesday, Sept. 10, University of Maryland
"Modern Literature in Afghanistan: Contributions to the Persian Book"
Wali Ahmadi, University of California, Berkeley
"A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" is in the South Gallery on the second level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building,
10 E. First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday,
the exhibition will close on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans
(PAAIA), Ambassador Hushang Ansary, Jawad Kamel, Nazie Eftekhari and other generous donors.
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