A friend of mine loaned me this book last week to read. Being a great lover of Rumi's poetry, I was ecstatic to have a look at it. The author covers the early life of Rumi, his life in Konya, the great masters who taught him. I was stuck by the copious scholarly notes, the accumulated detail of Mr. Lewis' sources, all annotated. There is a full chronology of the author's life, his family, his Sufi roots, his writings. There exists a number of pages of pure poetry in clear, modern, unrhymed translations. Examples from the Mithwani, Rumi's epic, and the lyric poetry. But make no mistake, this is not a book about only the poetry, it is, without a doubt, the finest scholarly approch to Rumi's life, filled with Persian accents on proper names, sometimes a little difficult to get through, but these were the names. I advise taking notes on the proper names because they appear often and are unusual to the English reader. There is no finer book on this subject and...
Franklin Lewis's scholarly approach to the life, teachings, and poetry of Rumi is quite refreshing in this New Age era. The summary above includes my general sentiments, although I found the accents helpful in learning to pronounce the proper names. My favorite part of the book was the analysis of the Rumi "translations." I also enjoyed the fresh translations included in this book and would like to see more. Overall, an A+ approach for those of you who want a serious Rumi work.
Rumi's works are valuable as social science in their reference to psychological development (the journey of soul). In order to understand Rumi, one must take a classical hermeneutical stance to uncover his intended meanings. This can only be done well if one understands Rumi himself. Franklin Lewis' text is now the greatest aid in so doing: there is no other extant text that gives such a thorough and accurate portrait of Rumi. It offers in-depth description and analysis of his antecedents, as well as the 13th century contemporary influences on his own psychological development. Other than Rumi's works themselves, no other book has been written that allows such insight into who he really was. Professor Lewis has written a work that is an invaluable aid in hermeneutically understanding Rumi, and in providing a richness of context through which one can better decode Rumi's own meaning-making.
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