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Mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi : A comparison Rassekh, Chohre


"Mystical poetry of Jalaloddin Rumi and Jacopone da Todi: A comparison" attempts to analyze and prove the possibility of a comparison of mystical poetry of the Eastern and Western traditions. The consciousness of the One (which is ineffable) is the goal of the mystical experience. This experience finds its expression in the following ways: 1- By affirming its ineffability through the insufficiency of words (the negative way does not exist in complete separation from the affirmative). 2- By relying on imagery and symbols drawn from the phenomenal world and translating abstract concepts into terms that men can understand. The purpose of this dissertation is to prove that Jacopone da Todi's and Jalallodin Rumi's use of poetic imagery from physical reality is the best expression of their mystical quest. Poetry for Jacopone and Rumi, through metaphorical presence, becomes a vehicle toward Reality. The introduction investigates the historical setting and Rumi's and Jacopone's lives in relation to the cultural environment of the time. The first chapter discusses and defines the concept of mysticism and emphasizes the importance of two fundamental ideas in every type of mysticism: the ideas of Love and Transformation. The second chapter discusses the concept of love as used by Jacopone and Rumi in their poetry. Love is seen as a gift; man in his weakness would never be able to attract it or reject. Love is also seen as frenzy and passion, hence the use of images from even the most intimate sphere of life and from sensual love. The chapter, through close analysis of different texts, will also explore the relation between earthly love and spiritual love. The third chapter demonstrates how the concept of transformation, essential to spiritual growth, is developed in the poetry of Jacopone and Rumi through the use of imagery. The symbols of the Cross for Jacopone and of Fire for Rumi are used as examples of purification and growth through sacrifice: "What is poor brushwood when it falls into the fire? Is not the brushwood transformed into a spark by the fire"? The fourth chapter presents a thesis on the language of mysticism or the "mystical lexicon" found in the two poets analyzed despite the apparent lack of any interdependence between them or dependence by them on a common source.

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