Austrian Orientalist Hammer-Purgstall commemorated in Shiraz

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Austrian Orientalist Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856), mostly renowned for the first ever complete translation of the Divan of Hafez into a Western language, was commemorated on Saturday in Shiraz, the southern Iranian city that is home to the Persian poet Hafez.

The commemoration was organized by the National Library and Archives of Fars (NLAF) at Tar-o-Pud Gallery on the sidelines of an exhibition titled “Hammer-Purgstall, a Bridge between Hafez and Goethe”.

The commemoration was also attended by a number of executives from the Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and some other organizations also.

“Undoubtedly, Hammer-Purgstall is among the distinguished Orientalists of Austria and the German-speaking world who played a unique role to introduce the Persian language and Iranian and Islamic culture to the West,” NLAF director Kurosh Kamali Sarvestani told ISNA reported on Sunday.    

“He was one the few Orientalists who wrote books in three Eastern languages i.e. Persian, Arabic and Turkish,” he added.

He said that due to the efforts Hammer-Purgstall made to translate the Divan of Hafez into German, Persian literature and Shiraz are deeply indebted to him.

“[Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe, the great German poet, was familiar with Hafez and his works through his friendship with Hammer-Purgstall and his translation of the Divan of Hafez,” he explained and added, “In fact, Hammer-Purgstall built a bridge between Goethe and Hafez.”

Due to Hammer-Purgstall’s contribution to Persian literature, Kamali Sarvestani proposed that a street in Shiraz be named after him.  

Hammer-Purgstall attended the Oriental Academy when he was thirteen. He was also trained to become a diplomat in the Ottoman Empire and studied Arabic, Persian and Turkish. However, his dream of visiting Persia never came true.

He authored many books on Persian literature. Among them is “Geschichte der schönen Redekünste Persiens mit einer Blüthenlese aus zweyhundert persischen Dichtern”, which gives a real insight into the history of Persian literature.

Photo: Austrian Orientalist Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall’s tomb in Weidling, Austria (Photo by Hannes D. Galter)


*Source: Tehran_Times

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