Isaac D’Israeli’s Mejnoun and Leila

Elham Nilchian


This article is a comparative analysis of the eighteenth-century British Orientalist Isaac D’Israeli’s romance Mejnoun and Leila (1797) with its original source Leyli o Majnun (1188) by Nezami of Ganja (1141-1209). Nezami, a twelfth-century Persian poet, is considered the greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature. The idea of the love of Leyli and Majnun is raised as being primarily an earthly love, yet it is transcended into a divine type of love through suffering and hence loss of self in the Other. The article discusses the extent to which D’Israeli’s treatment of Sufism in his romance is sympathetic with Nezami’s work.

Keywords: Isaac D’Israeli, Nezami, Persian Poetry, Sufism, Orientalism, Pre-Romantic Literature

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