JEANNINE MARIE HENY, University of Pennsylvania


There has been controversy over the past few decades over the nature of Persian prosody, with some scholars claiming that stress plays a role in the quantitative patterns which make up Persian meters, while others deny that this is possible. Moreover, while Arabic metrical theory (based on the circles of al-Khal(')il) has often been seen as inadequate for Persian, no comprehensive metrical theory has been proposed to replace the traditional framework. This dissertation applies recent developments in generative metrics to Persian, with the aim of filling this gap.^ A new generative study by Hayes has provided a set of pattern generating rules for Persian meter. It is the task of this dissertation to build on this, expanding the pattern generating component to include comprehensive principles for determining metrical structure within the abstract pattern, and providing a complete set of prosodic rules and correspondence rules for classical Persian meter. The resulting theory is shown to be more satisfactory for dealing with Persian meters than earlier treatments.^ Two thirteenth century classical poets, Mowlav(')i and Sa'd(')i, form the focus of study: 10,224 lines of poetry in 24 meters, selected roughly equally from the two poets, make up the data base for the prosodic and correspondence rules proposed. A restricted data base of 1,740 lines in 8 meters is used for the discussion on stress. Metrical rules are formulated in accordance with examples from this sample, and counterexamples are noted where relevant.^ Aside from providing an overall theory of Persian metrics, the study draws a picture of metrical styles for the two poets involved: Sa'd(')i is shown to be consistently more conservative with regard to quantitative rules, while Mowlav(')i is seen as more rigidly adhering to expected stress and rhythmic grouping patterns. Finally, suggestions are made for the further use of metrical study in stylistic, philological and historical study, and a tentative characterization of unmetricality and metrical complexity, of use in stylistics, is given based on the system of rules presented. ^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

Recommended Citation

HENY, JEANNINE MARIE, "RHYTHMIC ELEMENTS IN PERSIAN POETRY" (1981). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8207974.