My current book project is a monograph on the narrative poem Vis & Ramin by Fakhroddin Gorgani. As a literary and intellectual history, it investigates the emergence of the ‘romance’ as a literary genre and the idea of ‘romantic love’ as an ethical praxis within this generic tradition, tracing how the interplay of these two branches produces a work that raises deep existential challenges for the individual subject through the problematization of classic topoi like female chastity, male sovereignty, and sacrifice and redemption in the name of love. I also re-examine the tradition of minstrelsy in Parthian and Sasanian literature and examine how this oral element interfaces with the written and literary aspects of Gorgani’s poem through embedded performances and multiple narrators.
Alongside this monograph, I am working on a number of articles that touch on the following topics: the ‘rise of the romance’ in Persian, Greek, and European literature; the implications of Alexander’s quest for immortality; love and holy war in Floire & Blancheflor and Varqa & Golshah; speech, silence, and symbols in Nezami’s Haft Paykar; and monsters and the monstrous in the works of Iranshah b. Abi’l-khayr. I’m also chipping away at a number of translations, including ‘Ayyuqi’s Varqa & Golshah and a few works of contemporary prose and poetry.
The courses I have taught so far include an introduction to Middle Eastern geography, history, and ethnography through travel writing; Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh; modern Persian poetry; Iranian cinema; and a survey of Persian literature in translation. In the near future, I hope to offer a course on Rumi; a course on animals and monsters in Islamic literature; and a course on comparative romances.