The Persian Book of Kings” is the title of latest
translation of the epic masterpiece of Shahnameh (the Book
of Kings) composed by Master Fersowsi, will be published
by Penguin Classic Group in English language on 2nd of
March 2006 in 928 pages.
Dick Davis is the translator of the book and Penguin
Publication Group will publish the book in Britain.
“Among the great works of world literature, perhaps one
of the least familiar to English readers is the Shahnameh,
the national epic of Iran. This prodigious narrative,
composed by the poet Ferdowsi between the years 980 and
1010 AD, tells the story of pre-Islamic Iran, beginning in
the mythic time of creation and continuing forward to the
Arab invasion in the seventh century” says the publisher
in the introduction of the book.
The introduction to this book also points out the fact
that “as a window to the world, Shahnameh belongs in the
company of such literary masterpieces as Dante’s Divine
Comedy, the plays of Shakespeare, the epic of
Homer-classics whose reach and range bring whole cultures
The publisher also states that in the masterpiece of
Shahnameh, Ferdowsi has illustrated the unforgettable
moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and
cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief.
Then the publisher explains about the importance of this
translation for English speaking people to get familiar
with this epic masterpiece, “In tracing the roots of
Iran, Shahnameh initially draws on the depths of legend
and then carries its story into historical times, when
ancient Persia was swept into an expanding Islamic empire.
Now Dick Davis, the translator of Persian poetry, has
revisited that poem, turning the finest stories of
Ferdowsi’s original into an elegant combination of prose
and verse. For the first time in English, in the most
complete possible form, readers can experience Shahnameh
in the same way that Iranian Shahnameh-readers have
lovingly conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand
Master Ferdowsi was born in Khorasan province in a village
near Tus in 940. His great epic, Shahnameh (the Book of
Kings) was originally composed for the Samanid princes.
Ferdowsi passed away around 1020 AD in poverty.
Dick Davis, the English translator of the book, is
currently professor of Persian literature at Ohio State
University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of
Literature. He has the experience of living in different
countries such as Iran, Greece, and Italy, each for a
period of 8 years.
In addition to academic works, he has published numerous
translations from Italian (prose) and Persian (prose and
verse) and other books of poetry.
His translations from Persian include: The
"Conference of Birds" by Farid al-Din Attar
Neyshaburi, "My Uncle Napoleon" by Pezeshkzad,
the "Lion and the Throne" stories from the
Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, vol.1, "Fathers and
Sons", "Sunset of Empire", stories from the
Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, vol. 3, "Shahnameh: the
Persian Book of Kings", and "The legend of
Siyavash" (Persian Classics) by Ferdowsi.
has also written several books about the history and
literature of Iran including: "Epic & Section:
The Case of Ferdowsi Shahnameh", "Borrowed Ware:
Medieval Persian Epigrams", and Poetry: a prognosis
(Critical Essay): An article from: New Criterion.