The Divan-i Hafiz is the most complete translation of all of the Hafiz’s poetry into English. This unabridged volume, is accompanied by extensive notes, a biography of the poet, a new introduction and a concordance. As the most popular translation of Hafiz into English, it has variously been described as: “accurate,” “erudite,” “accessible,” “faithful” and “the most respected translation of Hafiz into English.”
Unlike other translations, which are more about the translator than about Hafiz, H. Wilberforce-Clarke’s word-by-word translation fully conveys the Persian original. For this reason, many modern poets who do not know Persian use this work to read and understand Hafiz. Elizabeth Gray, Michael Boylan and Thomas Rain Crowe and Daniel Ladinsky have all used this work.
The 693 poems in this volume include every ghazal, rubai, qita’, masnavi, the saqinameh, the moghaninameh, qasaid, and mokhamas. Included are a biography of the Hafiz; a description of other translations; an index of the people referred to; and an index of the figures of speech used. There are also more than 2,300 detailed notes explaining practically every line of the poems. The notes are based on Mohammad Sudi’s authoritative commentary. The introduction by Professor Michael Hillmann, a scholar of Hafiz at the University of Texas, introduces the translation and the historical and literary characteristics of the Hafiz’s poetry.
The Divan-i Hafiz includes a table which matches the English translation to the original Persian. The reader can see that poem 248 in Wilberforce-Clarke is poem 183 in the Khanlari edition or poem 180 in the Ghazvini edition. This, along with the translation and the notes can be of great help to the student of Persian or anyone wishing to better understand the Persian language’s most loved writer.
This 1096 page large-format book is printed in the United States on an easy-to-read paper. It is bound in a reinforced cloth hard-cover and the paper used is acid-free paper to last a long time. There is also an attractive dust-jacket and is shrink-wrapped. It is an ideal way of introducing the mystery of Hafiz to the non-Persian speaker.
SHAMSEDDIN MOHAMMAD OF SHIRAZ, whose nom de plume was to be “Hafiz,” was born early in the 14th century. He is the Persian language’s most loved writer.
HENRY WILBERFORCE CLARKE was a member of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Asiatic Society of Bengal is also the author of a grammar of Persian: The Persian Manual. In addition to the Divan-i Hafiz he has also translated Sa’di’s Bustan and Nizami’s Eskandarnameh.
MICHAEL C. HILLMANN is professor of Persian at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of ten books, including Unity in the Ghazzaliyat of Hafiz and From Durham to Tehran (also published by Ibex Publishers).
FROM THE INTRODUCTION
“Readers can enjoy the mystery which Wilberforce Clarke’s emphasis of “symbolic” imagery communicates as a parallel to the cultural richness and suggestiveness with which the original Persian tantalizes readers. Hafez’s seriousness and almost breathless attachment of importance to relationships and engagement of life’s questions come across in Wilberforce Clarke’s versions. The characters in Hafez’s poetic world, the Magian elder, the winebearing Sâqi, the inhibiting constable, and the beloved among them, and the scenery of gardens, cypress trees, roses, and nightingales, are there in the English as well. Even Wilberforce Clarke’s notes, become part of a legitimate experience of Hafezian verse for English-speaking readers today, the sense of experiencing another time and place and other ways of looking at and responding to the world. In short, the trip on which Wilberforce Clarke’s translations take readers is worth the fare and leads readers eastward, perhaps even to the Iranian plateau in centuries past, no matter that it may not bring readers to Hafez’s doorstep.”