chapter  14
Accented texts: the case of Chahār Maqāle and Mohammad Qazvini
ByMohammad Qazvini SIMA DAAD
Pages 16

This article is drawn from a compare-contrast study on the medieval Persian treatise Chahār Maqāle (The Four Discourses)2 in the sociocultural contexts of its original composition (twelfth century) and its modern critical reproduction (1910) by Mohammad Qazvini (1877-1949). The original significance of the study reveals itself as we remember Qazvini’s ethos and sincere commitment as a critic-editor to the faithful reconstruction of the author’s original text. Yet, a close examination of his reading and reproduction of Chahār Maqāle indicates various cases of departure from the source text including a significant departure at the conceptual level. In the present article I limit myself to this conceptual departure. In so doing, I will focus on Qazini’s critical reading of Chahār Maqāle in comparison-contrast to what a rereading of Nezāmi ‘Aruzi’s treatise may reveal about the integrity of the text. Rather than a deficiency, the likely distance is conceived of as an inevitable phenomenon that operates beyond the critic-editor’s control and will help us gain a better understanding of the sociohistorical milieu that surrounds each stage in the production or reproduction of that text.