This article is also available in: Italiano
A summary of Rumi’s main works published in Italian and their differences
The work of the great master of Konya can be basically divided into two parts: poetry and prose. The most famous category associated with Rumi is certainly the first, thanks to the astonishing depth and beauty of his Masnavi and his Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, a work that he composed after the death of his beloved Shams Tabrizi, a man who helped him reach to lighting.
The prose texts are instead: the “Fihi ma Fihi”, a list of 71 speeches and readings that Mawlana gave to his disciples, the “Majāles-e Sab’a”, 7 readings and sermons on the Quran with quotations from Sana ‘ i and Attar, and finally “Makatib”, a series of letters that the great master sent both to his disciples and to public figures.
The complete translation of his Masnavi, edited by Gabriele Mandel Khan and published by Bompiani, and of his “Fihi Ma Fihi”, translated by Raul Schenardi for the Luni Editrice publishing house under the name of “Il libro delle profondità interiori”. This work was also translated by Sergio Foti for the publishing house Libreria Editrice Psiche under the name of “L’essenza del reale”; this publisher then had Gianpaolo Fiorentini translate the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, but it is not clear whether or not it is an integral translation or an anthology.
Among the most beautiful and famous anthologies, the Divan by the great Alessandro Bausani, published in Italy by BUR under the name of “Poesie Mistiche”, must absolutely be mentioned. Other noteworthy anthologies (but which do not mention externally from which work they take their passages) are: “L’amore è uno straniero”, edited by Gianpaolo Fiorentini and published by the Astrolabio-Ubaldini Editore publishing house, and “Settecento sipari del cuore “, edited by Stefano Pellò and published by Ponte alle Grazie.
Masnavi and Divan in a very summary
Given the importance and centrality of Masnavi and Divan in Rumi’s poetic and artistic production, it is absolutely necessary to provide some detail, albeit minimal, regarding these two works, both sublime but very different from each other. The first is a long poem with kissing rhymes that includes more than 26,000 double lines divided into 6 different volumes of various sizes. Inside there is not a single story, but innumerable ones, to which the thoughts and reflections of the Great Master are then constantly combined, thus creating a continuum between story and meditation. But be careful: the connections between history and reflection are not always so immediate, the peculiarity of this author is precisely that of starting from a puddle to reach the greatest depths of psyche and spirit.
The Divan, on the other hand, has more than 40,000 verses, but in this case they are mostly ghazal, a poetic form linked above all to amorous themes which, not surprisingly, return several times throughout the immense work. Not surprisingly, while the Masnavi was written under the pressure of one of his greatest followers, this text was drafted shortly after the death of the beloved Shams-e Tabrizi, a figure who formed an extremely particular bond with Rumi, so much so that it pushed him in this sublime enterprise.
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