Cross-Cultural Matches and Dispatches: Nizami and Dante
Nizami Ganjavi International Centre and Azerbaijan Comparative Literature Association in collaboration with the Nazionale di Napoli are pleased to invite interested scholars and Ph.D. students from related fields to submit proposals for a conference Cross-Cultural Matches and Dispatches: Nizami and Dante which is to be held on 9-10 October 2020, the eve of the 700th anniversary of Dante.
The conference aims to make cross-cultural comparisons of two great medieval figures from the Muslim East and Christian West— Nizami (1141-1209) and Dante (1265-1321) to bring one more bridge of the understanding between various religions. Dante is considered an author with an encyclopaedic range—political, moral and theological. Nizami was known as a hakim (a sage or judge). To study his philosophy has been described as “finding pearls in the ocean of knowledge”, to quote the sage Buzurd Umid in Nizami’s Khosrov and Shirin.
The conference plans three sessions on parallels and divergence based on the concept of love, the didactic genre and narrative form. Love serves as a tool to reach absolute truth or inner purification and a way to enlightenment. Love as an eternal category is depicted widely in medieval literature and folklore as a divine symbol, allegory, real image. Love and accompanying symbols are used as an allegory in different civilizations, including Christianity and Islam, and in a wider religious context in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and almost in all faiths. Dante’s Divine Comedy is divided into three parts—Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Nizami’s heroes also go through different stages to reach perfection. For example, a simple person undergoes moral purification and attains the highest comprehension, which is enlightenment or love of God.
We invite interested people to join us in debating the love concept in medieval literature, folklore and in real life; to compare love in religious texts and in poetry, considering in which discourse love turns into a symbol, and when it represents human feelings.
Both poets highlighted the supremacy of the didactic role of the poet, drawing inspiration from the needs of people. Nizami considered it the poet’s role to shape the ruler, to understand their needs and challenge them to conduct reforms and make fair judgments. Love again is one of the tools to re-educate a leader.
Another question for discussion is the two authors’ ideas of moral foundations and of the role of the poet in enlightenment.
The conference will also consider forms of narrative in Orient and Occident, how content influences genre, and genre influences style and composition.
We welcome for consideration other proposals comparing the works of Dante and Nizami, as well their contemporaries from the prism of medieval matches and dispatches between various cultures and religions. Contributions are invited from all fields of intellectual-cultural history.
There is no participation fee.
Keynote speakers: to be confirmed
Abstracts are required in English.
Paper presentations are expected to be submitted in English.
Presentations are expected to be submitted in English. Otherwise, the author should submit full paper translations into Italian or/and Azerbaijani.