Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Visions of Persia

Visions of Persia

Mapping the Travels of Adam Olearius

Elio Brancaforte

ISBN 9780674012547

Publication date: 01/15/2004

This work examines the travel account of a German baroque author who journeyed in search of silk from Northern Germany, through Muscovy, to the court of Shah Safi in Isfahan.

Adam Olearius introduced Persian literature, history, and arts to the German-speaking public; his frank appraisal of Persian customs foreshadows the enlightened spirit of the eighteenth century (influencing Montesquieu’s Persian Letters as well as Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan) and prepares the way for German Romanticism’s infatuation with Persian poetry.

Elio Brancaforte focuses on the visual and discursive nexus uniting Olearius’s text with the numerous engravings that supplement the book. The emphasis falls on contextualized readings of Olearius’s decorative frontispieces and his new and improved map of Persia and the Caspian Sea, as expressions of early modern subjectivity.


  • Elio Brancaforte is Assistant Professor of German at Tulane University.

Book Details

  • 272 pages
  • Harvard University Department of Comparative Literature