ḤADĀʾEQ AL-SEḤR, shortened title of the famous treatise Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fi daqāʾeq al-šeʿr (“Gardens of Magic in the Subtleties of Poetry”), written by Amir Rašid-al-Din Moḥammad ʿOmari, widely known as Rašid(-e) Waṭwāt (d. 578/1182-83). Being the second Persian treatise on ʿelm al-badiʿ (rhetorical embellishments, see BADèʿ), it has among its predecessors the Tarjomān al-balāḡa by Rāduyāni (late 11th century) on the Persian side, and the Ketāb al-maḥāsen fi’l-naẓm wa’l-naṯr by Marḡināni (early 11th century) on the Arabic side. The treatise consists of a short introduction; fifty-five chapters, each describing a single badiʿ figure and its varieties; and a sort of appendix explaining some gen-eral concepts of literary theory and several less important poetical devices. Waṭwāt examines all in all sixty-three badiʿ figures (counting eight in the Appendix).

The structure of the Ḥadāʾeq is in fact the structure of the Persian version of ʿelm al-badiʿ itself, but unlike his famous follower, Šams-e Qays al-Rāzi, who focused mostly on figures based on meaning and on the problems of majāz (figurative speech), Waṭwāt concentrates on figures which refer to the phonetic aspect (lafẓ) of poetic discourse. The ones he describes in most detail and with numerous quotations are varieties of tajnis, radd-āl-ʿajoz ʿala’l-ṣadr and the like. The arrangement of figures in the treatise is based on the authority of preceding tradition (going back to the Ketāb al-badiʿ by Ebn al-Moʿtazz); on the importance of a figure for poetics as a whole (the oldest and the most important figures, like tajnis and sajʿ, being examined first); and on the principle of analogy, formally similar figures being placed next to each other. The interaction of these principles creates the complex and seemingly random composition of the treatise.

Two-thirds of Waṭwāt’s book consists of quotations, 514 in all: 145 from Arabic prose (mostly from the Koran and the ḥadit nabawi); 160 from Arabic poetry (most frequently cited being Motanabbi and Ḥariri); 37 from Persian prose; and 172 from Persian poetry (with ‘Onṣori and Moʿezzi heading the list of quoted authors). Compared to other Persian treatises on poetics, the Ḥadāʾeq is distinguished by the fact that prose—especially Arabic prose—is considered a genuine variety of literature. Both in this treatise and in his other works, Waṭwāt emphasizes the unity of the Arabic and Persian literary traditions; Persian poetry is interpreted as practically bilingual. He is, however, mostly concerned with the Persian-language poetry of Iran.



Editions and translations: Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fi daqāʾeq al-šeʿr, ed. ʿA. Eqbāl, Tehrān, 1308 Š./1929-30 (a richly annotated edition with an informative introduction); ed. N. Chalisova as Sady volshebstva v tonkostyakh poezii (Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fi daqāʾeq al-šeʿr), Moscow, 1985 (containing a Russian translation, commentary and a detailed analysis of the text).

Studies and other works: Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia II, pp. 47-48 (where the foundations of poetics and rhetorics are explicated on the basis of Waṭwāt’s treatise).

R. Musulmankulov, Persidsko-tadzhikskaya klassicheskaya poetika. X—XV vv. (Persian-Tadjik classical poetics 10th-15th centuries) Moscow, 1989 (where the Ḥadāʾeq is described in comparison with other Persian classic books on the theory of literature.)

Rašid-al-Din Waṭwāt, Divān, ed. S. Nafisi, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960-61.

Q. Tuyserkāni, Baḥṯ dar bāra-ye ketāb-e Ḥadāʾeq al-seḥr fi daqāʾeq al-šeʿr, Tehran, n.d.

(N. Y. Chalisova)

Originally Published: December 15, 2002

Last Updated: February 24, 2012

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Vol. XI, Fasc. 4, p. 435