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A fried gave this book to me as a gift, knowing my interest in Mowlana Rumi's poems.
I usually don't bother with English interpretations/translations of Mowlana's work. I had perused Arberry's and had to put it down in disgust over his superficial attempt to co-opt this man into the religious realm. Arberry's influence being what it was, and as it remains, it is a real disservice to those scholars who can't read Persian well enough to appreciate Mowlana first hand.
This book goes even further. Not only the interpretations are not close, most the word plays and double entendre are lost, the author moves verses and above all, he adds verses where there are none! I consider this a misguided presentation of the few poems he has selected. After reading a few, I decided to check them against the originals. This is what I found.
Gazal number 2045, (Cowan's 37) has a final verse about Shams which doesn't exist. Its crudeness prompted to check my two copies of the divan and the version on ganjoor.org. None have this weird verse.
Samething with Gazal number 2395 (Cowan's 41). No final verse, noting about Shams (Sun) as he has glibly made up.
I have shut the book. It is a disgrace. I looked at three poems, two of them have been appended with the interpreters own imagination.
The question is motivation. Why are these translators presenting Mowlana's work like that of mindless "new age" person? To anyone who understands Persian, these are works of inquiry into psychology and perception using ones own experiences as the singular source. So what is the reason behind all the "spiritualism" painted on Mowlana by western scholars, and I use that word in its loosest sense.
The below review says it all realy. James Cowan writes with a real love of the subject and brings to life the emotions, the landscape the events behind the meeting of Rumi and Shems. Unlike others he does not hide the fact that this is a rewrite fo earlier translations and it is perhaps his humility that realy makes this book special.
If you want to read the works of Rumi it might be worth starting here (the works of Professor Schimmel will also be of help)
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