In just a week of reading the Qabus-nama together with our instructor, Ruben Nikoghosyan, I learned a lot about early classical Persian that is often not taught explicitly or systematically enough when these older texts are approached from the perspective of modern Persian studies. The choice of the Qabus-nama is particularly apposite for familiarising relative beginners to the early corpus: many of the most important distinctions between classical and modern Persian recur, especially the specific uses of prepositions, particles, and verb tense/mood constructions. I found that as we progressed through the week, this repetition helped me develop certain instincts in parsing the text, which I am certain will be instrumental as I progress in my research on Saljuq-era Persian texts. Ruben’s deep knowledge of the many languages adjacent to New Persian, his generosity, and his affable manner created a space in which I (and, I believe, my fellow learners) felt both comfortable offering potential misreadings and confident that we would arrive at a philologically substantiated understanding of the text. We also briefly discussed issues relating to manuscript work, which came to the fore in instances when certain editorial decisions may read somewhat strangely. I am glad to have taken this short but thorough online course at ASPIRANTUM.
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