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African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures

persianAn Indo-European language, Persian is the native language of over sixty million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. It is the official language of Iran, where it is known as Farsi, Afghanistan where it is known as Dari, and Tajikistan, where it is known as Tajiki. Persian is written in a modified form of the Arabic alphabet.


Persian has a rich literary tradition that includes mystical, lyrical, and epic poetry of a high order. A famous Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, is the author of the Rubayat which was rendered into English by Edward FitzGerald. Another great Persian author was Jalal al-din Rumi whose Masnavi is considered the greatest work of Islamic mysticism. Modern Persian literature is produced in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan as well as among expatriate communities living in Europe and the United States. It continues to evolve and flourish in the form of poetry, short stories, and novels. There is also a rich corpus of memoirs and historical writing on contemporary events in the region.

If you are interested in taking Persian at Rutgers, the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures currently offers Persian through the elementary level.

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