Cover: Mughal Arcadia: Persian Literature in an Indian Court, from Harvard University PressCover: Mughal Arcadia in HARDCOVER

Mughal Arcadia

Persian Literature in an Indian Court

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674975859

Publication Date: 11/27/2017


280 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 halftones, 1 map


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It is the fragrance of pure Mughal sophistication which wafts through this erudite book. In elegant and eloquent detail, Sharma tells of the Mughal imperial family’s love for nature… Mughal Arcadia’s singularity is that, calling on [Sharma’s] ample scholarly knowledge of Indo-Persian poetry and culture, it offers an account of Mughal history for the non-specialist, including the Mughal love for tended and unspoiled bountiful nature.—Christine van Ruymbeke, The Times Literary Supplement

Sharma…takes us on a whirlwind tour of a hefty slice of the nearly forgotten universe of Mughal Persian poetry. The book is a delight. One emerges from it impressed by the beauty and complexity of Mughal poetry and even more impressed by Sharma’s deft reading skills and ability to translate this tradition for 21st century readers.—Audrey Truschke, The Wire

A celebration and deeply learned account of Persian poetry in Mughal India, this book traces how the idea of Hindustan in the Iranian imagination encountered the actuality of the place and ultimately transformed the literary and aesthetic landscape of the subcontinent. Mughal Arcadia is attractively written, with enthusiasm and erudition, and will delight anyone interested in the magnificent Indo-Persian culture it commemorates.—Dick Davis, translator of Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz

Sunil Sharma’s Mughal Arcadia draws on Persian poetry produced in India to evoke a world that is now as lost and strange as Atlantis or Shangri-La. The Persian poets presented India as a land of wonders and riches, a pastoral paradise. As I read on, an impossible longing came over me—to visit seventeenth century Kashmir and see for myself what the poets described and the miniaturists painted: the spring festivals, harem processions, falcon hunts, well-watered gardens with their fruit trees, Sufis, nightingales, wild dogs, and cities devoted to love and poetry… This exploration of a hitherto largely neglected subject is based on remarkably wide reading and is a credit to scholarship.—Robert Irwin, author of The Arabian Nights: A Companion and Wonders Will Never Cease

Persian poets have historically referred to the valley of Kashmir as a ‘second paradise.’ Thanks to Sunil Sharma’s fascinating account of the Mughal court’s love of Persian poets and poetry and its openness to artistic multiculturalism, we understand the full breadth of that paradise.—Sholeh Wolpé, poet and translator of The Conference of the Birds by Attar

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