“Do you break our harp, exalted one? Thousands of other harps are here.” This evocative line of verse, by the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, epitomizes an Arabo-Persian philosophy of listening known as samā‘—a term that encompasses both the act of hearing and the things heard, material and immaterial. In this free lecture, Andrew Hicks excavates a richly textured media-archaeology of the soundscapes of medieval Persian poetry to reveal the role of listening within the Persian poetic imagination. In so doing, he exposes problems of continuity, rupture, and the cultural imaginary in Persian poetic praxis.
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