B.A. U.C. Berkeley, 1983.
Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1995
Teaching at Chicago since 2005
I teach courses on Persian literature and language (classical and modern), medieval Islamic thought and literature, Islamic mysticism, Iranian cinema, and translation history and theory. I currently serve as the Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), and have affiliations with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the Committee on Medieval Studies; the program in Fundamentals: Issues and Texts,and the Islamic Studies Program at the Divinity School. I studied Near Eastern Studies at Berkeley (with Ira Lapidus, William Brinner, Hasan Javadi, Mahmoud Omidsalar, Jaleh Pirnazar, Joseph Zeidan, Shibley Telhami) and at the University of Chicago (under Heshmat Moayyad, Jaroslav Stetkevych, John Perry and Fazlur Rahman), and taught previously at Emory University’s Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (1997-2005), and also served as president of the American Institute of Iranian Studies (2002-2012).
My interests center on Persian as a prestige vernacular of the Islamic world, and trans-national literary and intellectual lingua franca. I focus on the poetry and belles lettres of the Samanid to Safavid periods, as well as 20th-century poetry & prose, which I approach comparatively, considering questions of genre, performance, narratology, semiotics, hermeneutics, homiletics, the sociology of literary production, codicological and editorial theory (for Persian, Arabic and medieval European texts), and the translation and reception of Middle Eastern literature in the West. I am particularly attracted to the intersections of literature and religion, especially the mystical and esoteric traditions in the Islamicate world (including Sufi, Shiʻi and Baha’i thought and theology). An ongoing interest in Mowlânâ Jalâl al-Din Rumi is reflected in my monograph on the subject, a book of literary translations of his poems, a guest-edited special journal issue focusing on the current state of Rumi studies, and an edition and a forthcoming translation of the discourses of Borhân al-Din Mohaqqeq of Termez, the teacher who purportedly initiated Rumi into the mystical tradition. Other publications include translations of modern Persian prose and poetry, and articles on Ferdowsi, Hâfez,ʻAttâr, Saʻdi, Najm al-Din Dâya, Persian literature and the Qur’ân, the Sufi orders, the hagiographical tradition, and the writings of Bahâ’ Allâh and ʻAbd al-Bahâ.
If you are interested in academic discussion of Middle Eastern literary traditions, check out the email list Adabiyat, which I established here at the University of Chicago in 1995 for shcolars, students, publishers, writers and poets of Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Urdu literatures. For news about Iranian Studies research materials and institutions, see the Facebook page of the American Institute of Iranian Studies. For lectures and cultural events related to Iranian studies in the northern Illinois area, follow the Chicago+ Iranians page on Facebook (Iranians have been performing in Chicago at least since the 1893 Columbian Exposition). Also have a look at our weekly Persian Circle(انجمن سخن فارسی) and its archive of past talks (here and there). Local events are also announced via our email list: Persian events; for lectures and events about the wider Middle East, check the webpage of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, or follow the announcements on its email list; and for the Ancient Near East, check the events at the Oriental Institute and visit the OI Museum. Oh, and don’t miss the gatherings of the student-run Persian Cultural Society (also on Facebook).
- [Editor, In Progress] Life and Letters of an Iranian Communist: Stories of Bozorg ʻAlavi. An introduction to the life of Bozorg ʻAlavi (1904-97) with an anthology of translations of his short stories and letters.
- [In Progress] Teachings of Rumi’s Teacher: Borhân al-Din Moḥaqqeq-e Termedhi and his Ma‛âref. A new critical edition of the Persian text and annotated English translation, with introduction by Franklin Lewis and Hassan Lahouti.
- Things We Left Unsaid, Zoya Pirzad (the Persian novel Čerâġ-hâ râ man xâmuš mi-konam, Tehran: Nashr-e Markaz, 2002), translated to English by Franklin Lewis (London: Oneworld Classics, May 2012).
- Mystical Poems of Rumi, translated by A.J. Arberry. Corrected one-volume edition with foreword by Franklin Lewis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 439pp.
- Rumi: Swallowing the Sun (Oxford: Oneworld, 2008), xxxiii+207pp. (Translation of selected poems of Jalâl al-Din Rumi, arranged by persona/voice/mode and with translation, notes and introduction).
- The Necklace of the Pleiades: Studies in Persian Literature and Culture, new edition (Amsterdam University Press and Leiden University Press, 2010), 370pp. First edition: The Necklace of the Pleiades: Studies in Persian Literature Presented to Heshmat Moayyad on his 80th Birthday, co-edited Franklin Lewis and Sunil Sharma (Amsterdam: Rozenberg and Purdue University Press, 2007)
- The Colossal Elephant and His Spiritual Feats: Shaykh Ahmad-e Jâm. The Life and Legendary Vita of a Popular Sufi Saint of the 12th Century. Edited and translated with Heshmat Moayyad (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2004), 460pp.
- Rumi: Past and Present, East and West. The Life Teachings and Poetry of Jalâl al-Din Rumi. Foreword by Julie Meisami (Oxford: One World Publications, 2000), xvii+686pp. Reprints 2001, 2003. Revised expanded edition, 2007. Translations [Persian]: Mowlavi: Diruz o emruz, sharq o gharb, trans. by Farhād Farahmandfar (Tehran: Nashr-e Sāles, 1383 Sh./ 2004). And also Mowlānā: diruz tā emruz, sharq tā gharb, trans. by Hassan Lahouti in collaboration with Franklin Lewis, including author’s Persian preface (Tehran: Nashr-e Nāmak, 1384 Sh./2005; 2nd ed., 1385 Sh./2006. [Turkish]: Mevlânâ: Geçmiş ve şimdi, Doğu ve Batı (Mevlânâ Celâleddin Rumi’nin Hayatı, öğretisi ve şiiri, trans. by (Hamide Kokuyan &) Gül Çağali Güven, ed. Safi Argapus, with author’s foreword to Turkish edition (Istanbul: Kabalcı Yayınevi, 2010). [Danish]: Rumi før og nu, Øst og Vest. Jalal al-Din Rumis liv, lære og digtning. Danish translation by Rasmus Chr. Elling. Carsten Niebuhr Biblioteket (Copenhagen: Forlaget Vandkunsten, 2010).
- In a Voice of Their Own: A Collection of Stories by Iranian Women written since the Revolution of 1979, edited and translated, with introduction and annotated bibliography co-authored by Franklin Lewis and Farzin Yazdanfar (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1996). liv+153pp.
- [In Preparation]: “Authorship, Auctoritas and the Management of Literary Estates in Pre-Modern Persian Literature,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam (JSAI). vol 44 (2017), special issue.
- Guest Editor, Special Issue: The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature, guest editor, Franklin Lewis, special issue of The Journal of Iranian Studies, Volume 48, Issue 3 (2015): 313-487.
- “The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature,”Iranian Studies48, 3 (2015): 313-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00210862.2015.1023063
- “The Spirituality of Persian Islamic Poetry,” in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Islamic Spirituality, ed. Bruce Lawrence and Vincent Cornell (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming, 2016), 25pp.
- “Solṭân Valad (d. 1312) and the Poetical Order: Framing the Ethos and Praxis of Poetry in the Mevlevi Tradition After Rumi,” In New Leaves, Fresh Looks: Essays on Persian Language, Literature and Culture, ed. Kamran Talattof (London and New York: Routledge, 2015): 23-47.
- “Towards a Chronology of the Poems in Rumi’s Divān-i Shams: A Prolegomenon for a Periodization of Rūmī’s Literary Oeuvre,” In The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2014): 145-76.
- “UT PICTURA POESIS: Verbal and Visual Depictions of the Practice of [Persian] Poetry in the Medieval Period,” in No Tapping around Philology: A Festschrift in Honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday, ed. Alireza Korangy & Daniel J. Sheffield (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014): 53-70.
- “Shahnama,” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought,ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013): 492-493.
- “Ghazal” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition. Roland Greene, ed. in chief; Stephen Cushman, gen. ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012): 570-72.
- “Qaşīda” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition. Roland Greene, ed. in chief; Stephen Cushman, gen. ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012): 1136.
- “Rubā‘ī” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition. Roland Greene, ed. in chief; Stephen Cushman, gen. ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012): 1227-28.
- “Panegyric” (co-authored), in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition. Roland Greene, ed. in chief; Stephen Cushman, gen. ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “‘Tale of the Righteous Woman (whose husband had gone on a journey)’: A Poetic Translation from the Ilāhī nāma of Farīd al-Dīn ‘Aṭṭār,” Converging Zones: Persian Literary Tradition and the Writing of History, Studies in Honor of Amin Bananied. Wali Ahmadi (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publications, 2012): 200-219.
- “One Chaste Muslim Maiden and a Persian in a Pear Tree: Earlier Islamicate Analogues for Two Tales of Chaucer,” in Metaphors and Imagery: Studies in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2011): 137-203.
- “Reflecties naar aanleiding van het Rumi-jaar 2007” [Reflections on UNESCO’s Year of Rumi, translation], in Tree voor tree naar Gods troon: Essays over Het leven en werk van Mowlânâ Jalâl al-Din Rumi, ed. Asghar Seyed-Gohrab (Leidschendamm: Uitgeverij Quist, 2010): 127-55 and 164. Reprinted from Eutopia 18 (December 2007): 23-43.
- “The Semiotics of Dawn in the Poetry of Hāfiẓ,” In Hafiz and the Religion of Love in Classical Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: I.B. Tauris, 2010): 251-78.
- “Pišgoftâr” (Introduction to special Double issue on Rumi Studies), Iran Nameh 25, 1-2 (Spring and Summer 1388/2009).
- “Dar-âmadi bar ta‛yin-e târix-e sarâyeš-e ḡazaliyât-e Mowlânâ”[Preliminary Methodology for Periodizing the Corpus of Rumi’s Ghazals] Introduction to the chronology, Iran Nameh 25, 1-2 (Spring/Summer 2009).
- “Sexual Occidentation: the Politics of Boy-love and Christian-love in ‛Aṭṭār,” Journal of Iranian Studies 42, 5 (special issue: Love and Desire in Pre-Modern Persian Poetry and Prose, 2009): 693-723.
- “Ensân va šamâyel-aš: dar jostojuy-e čehre-ye târixi-ye Mowlânâ” [The Icon and the Man: In Quest of the Historical Rumi] Iran Nameh 24, 1 (Spring 2008): 1-22.
- “Sincerely Flattering Panegyrics: The Shrinking Ghaznavid Qasida” in The Necklace of the Pleiades: Studies in Persian Literature, ed. F. Lewis and S. Sharma (Amsterdam: Rozenberg and Purdue Univ. Press, November 2007); 2nd edition (Leiden/Amsterdam: Leiden University Press, 2010), 209-250.
- “The Transformation of the Persian Ghazal: From Amatory Mood to Fixed Form,” in The Ghazal in World Literature II, ed. A. Neuwirth, M. Hess, B. Sagaster and J. Pfeiffer. Istanbuler Texte und Studien, Band 4. (Istanbul: Beirut Orient-Institut, and Würzburg: Ergon, 2006): 121-39.
- “Tarīqah,” The Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition, ed. Lindsay Jones [original ed. Mircea Eliade; original article, A.H. Johns] (MacMillan Reference / Thomson Gale, 2005), 13: 9003-9015.
- “Discourses of Logic in the Baha’i Writings,” in Search for Values: Ethics in Baha’i Thought, ed. John Danesh and Seena Fazel, Studies in Babi and Baha’i Religions, 15 (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 2004): 47-78.
- “Persian Language and Literature,” in Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, Richard Martin, ed.-in-chief (NY: MacMillan Reference, 2004): 522-29.
- “Qur’an and Persian Literature,” in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān, ed. J. MacAuliffe (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 4: 55-64.
- “Rumi, Jalaluddin,” in Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, Richard Martin, ed.-in-chief (NY: MacMillan Reference, 2004): 601-602.
- “A History of Rumi Scholarship,” In Rumi: In the Light of Eastern and Western Scholarship, ed. M. Ikram Chaghatai (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2004): 151-188.
- “Translations, Transpositions, Renditions, Versions and Inspirations,” InRumi: In the Light of Eastern and Western Scholarship, ed. M. Ikram Chaghatai (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2004): 189-244 [excerpted from Rumi: Past and Present, East and West].
- “Hafez. viii. Hafez and Rendi,” Encyclopædia Iranica, vol. 11, fasc. 5 (2002): 491-98.
- “Hafez. ix. Hafez and Music,” Encyclopædia Iranica, vol. 11, fasc. 5 (2002): 483-91.
- “Scripture as Literature” in Reason and Revelation: New Directions in Baha’i Thought,ed. John Danesh and Seena Fazel, Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions, 13 (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 2002), 101-128.
- “‘First we must speak of logical proofs’: discourses of knowledge in the Bahá’í writings,” Baha'i Studies Review (Oxford: Association for Baha’i Studies, English-speaking Europe) 10 (2001/2002): 51-74. (abstract)
- “The Modes of Literary Production: Remarks on the Composition, Revision and ‘Publication’ of Persian Texts in the Medieval Period,” Persica (Annual of the Dutch-Iranian Society, Leuven: Peeters) XVII (2001): 69-83.
- “Golestân-e Sa‘di,” Encyclopædia Iranica, vol. XI, fasc. 1 (2001): 79-86. Reprinted at Markaz-e Saʽdi-šenâsi (http://sadishenasi.com/?content=76), in 2013 (?).
- “Classical Persian,” Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation, ed. Peter France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 611-615.
- “Bahá'u'lláh’s Mathnavíy-i Mubárak: Introduction, and A Provisional Verse Translation” Baha'i Studies Review 9 (1999): 101-157.
- “Translating the Hidden Words” [extended review article], Baha'i Studies Review 8 (1998): 1-13.
- “Scripture as Literature: sifting through the layers of the text,” Baha'i Studies Review 7 (1997): 125-46.
- “Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitâb-i-Iqân”[extended review article], Baha'i Studies Review 6 (1996): 76-92.
- “The Rise and Fall of a Persian Refrain: the Radif âtash o âb” in Reorientations/Arabic and Persian Poetry, ed. Suzanne Stetkevych (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1994), 199-226.
- “Montaxabâti az Sâdeq Hedâyat [book review in Persian], Iran Nameh 5, 4 (Summer 1987): 731-6.
LITERARY TRANSLATIONS IN JOURNALS, EDITED COLLECTIONS, ONLINE
- “Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh’s Maʽsumeh of Shiraz,” (the Persian novella by Moḥammad-ʽAli Jamâlzâde, Maʽsume-ye Širâzi, Tehran, s.n., 1333 /1954; 2nd ed., Tehran: Kânun-e Maʽrefat, 1964), translated to English by Franklin Lewis, The Association for the Study of Persian Literature (ASPL, 2013), 52pp.
- "The Return of the Vernal Friend: A Ghazal from Rumi’s Dīvān-i Shams-i Tabrīzī,” Maulana Rumi Review 5 (University of Exeter, 2014): 106.
- “A Festival, an Eid, an Advent” (translation of a Persian ghazal from Rumi’s Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi), Maulana Rumi Review 3 (University of Exeter, 2012): 169-72.
- “The Uses of Adversity” (translation of a ghazal from Rumi’s Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi), Maulana Rumi Review 2 (University of Exeter, 2011): 9.
- “Love’s Freedom” (translation of a Persian ghazal from Rumi), Maulana Rumi Review 1 (University of Exeter, 2010): 16.
- “Shrivelled Petals” (short story translation) with Farzin Yazdanfar, The Reader: A Journal of Iranian Culture 4 (Tehran, Fall 2004): 48-49.
- “Endless Mercy” (ghazal by Rumi). The Reader: A Journal of Iranian Culture 4 (Tehran, Fall 2004): 2.
- “Both Sides of the Coin” (short story translation), in Black Parrot, Green Crow: A Collection of Short Fiction by Houshang Golshiri, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Washington. D.C.: Mage Publishers. 2003): 53-70.
- “Portrait of an Innocent, I” (short story translation), in Black Parrot, Green Crow: A Collection of Short Fiction by Houshang Golshiri, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Washington. D.C.: Mage Publishers. 2003): 89-97.
- “Portrait of an Innocent, III” (re-publication) in Black Parrot, Green Crow: A Collection of Short Fiction by Houshang Golshiri, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Washington. D.C.: Mage Publishers. 2003): 115-129.
- “Three Poems” (translations of poems), all three in Black Parrot, Green Crow: A Collection of Short Fiction by Houshang Golshiri, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Washington. D.C.: Mage Publishers. 2003): 233-40.
- “A Short Poem by ‘Darvísh Muhammad,’ Baha’u’llah: Sāqī az ghayb-i baqā borqa‛ bar afkan,” in Lights of Irfán, 2 (Wilmette, IL: Haj Mehdi Arjomand Memorial Fund, 2001): 83-92.
- “The Half-Closed Eye,” (story by Simin Dâneshvar) in Modern Literatures of the Non-Western World: Where the Waters are Born, ed. Jayana Clerk and Ruth Siegel (Harper Collins, 1995): 437-50. Also reprinted in Daftar-e Honar 2, 4 (Los Angeles, Sept. 1995): 404-412.
- “Congratulations and Condolences” [translation of a short story by Mahdokht-e Kashkuli] in A Walnut Sapling for Massih's Grave, ed. John Green and Farzin Yazdanfar (Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 1993).
- “The Half‑Closed Eye” [translation from Persian of a short story titled “Češm-e nime-bâz” by Simin Dâneshvar], in Stories from Iran: A Chicago Anthology, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Wash., D.C.: Mage Publ., 1992): 125-14.
- “Portrait of an Innocent” III [translation from Persian of a short story titled Ma‘sum 3 by Hushang Golshiri], in Stories from Iran: A Chicago Anthology, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Wash., D.C.: Mage Publ., 1992): 353-369.
- “Aziz Aqa’s Gold Filling” [translation with Farzin Yazdanfar from Persian of a story by Goli Taraqqi], in Stories from Iran: A Chicago Anthology, ed. Heshmat Moayyad (Washington, D.C.: Mage Publishers, 1992): 405-419.