DĀNEŠ, ḤOSAYN (حسین دانش)(b. Istanbul 1286/1870, d. Ankara 1322 Š./1943), a leading Turco-Persian poet, journalist, and scholar.

Dāneš, the son of Moḥammad-Hāšem Eṣfahānī, a Persian merchant who had settled in Turkey in about 1850, learned Persian at home while attending a Turk­ish elementary school; he then attended a French school for two years, followed by several years in a Persian school, the Dabestān-e Īrānīān, founded in 1301/1884. His languages included Turkish, French, English, and Arabic. Dāneš subsequently taught at his Persian school, where he was associated with Mīrzā Mahdī Tabrīzī, editor of the Persian newspaper Aḵtar (q.v.); Āqā Khan Kermānī, a writer and poet; and the writer, poet, and scholar Mīrzā Ḥabīb Eṣfahānī (qq.v.). His first book was a geography, Joḡrāfīā-ye Īrān, published in 1312/1894. In the same year he began to write for the Turkish newspaper Eqdām and to contrib­ute poetry to the Turkish weekly Ṯarwat fonūn. In 1313/1895 he was appointed tutor to the Ottoman princes Loṭf-Allāh and Ṣabāḥ-al-Dīn, a post he held for six years. During that period he published Navāy-­e ṣarīr, a translation of selected works by Alphonse de Lamartine into Turkish. He traveled extensively with the princes in Europe and Egypt. In 1319/1901, after leaving their service, he became a government transla­tor, taught Persian in the Maktab-e solṭānī, and was professor of Persian literature at the Dār al-fonūn (polytechnic college) in Istanbul. In 1328/1910 he declined an offer to become deputy from Tabrīz to the Persian Majles.

Dāneš wrote on literary, political, and social issues for many Persian newspapers. His editorials in Šams included sharp criticism of Persian institutions, soci­ety, and customs but were always constructive and educational in tone. He also wrote literary articles in Ḵāvar and particularly Sorūš, edited by ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (q.v.). In addition, he contributed to Ḥabl al-­matīn in Bombay. His correspondence with E. G. Browne, who called him “a notable man of letters both in Persian and Turkish” (Lit. Hist. Persia IV, p. viii), extended over twenty-five years and reveals him as an outstanding personality in the Turco-Persian reform movement and in Turco-Persian belles lettres and scholarship.

Dāneš’s other published works include Sarāmadān-­e soḵan (1327/1909); Taʿlīm-e lesān-e fārsī, a Persian-language textbook in four volumes, commissioned by the Ottoman office of education (1331/1913); Hadīya-­ye sāl (1330/1912); Ḵarābahā-ye madāyen, his finest literary accomplishment (1330/1912); Zardošt-nāma (1918); a Turkish translation of ʿOmar Ḵayyām’s po­etry (1340/1922), which must rank as his most impor­tant literary contribution; Fransizca-türkçe hukuki ve medini lûgat. Dictionnaire juridique et civique français-­turc (1934); and a dīvān of poetry in Turkish.

After the founding of Tehran University in 1313 Š./1934 Danes accepted the chair of Persian and Turk­ish literature, but, before he could take up the post, Reżā Shah (1304-20 Š./1925-41) visited Turkey and urged him to serve in the Persian embassy in Ankara. He was still working as press attaché when he died, without ever having visited Persia. He is buried in Üsküdar across the Bosporus from Istanbul.



Browne, Press and Poetry, p. 307.

P. J. Chelkowski, “Edward G. Browne’s Turkish Connexion,” BSOAS 49/1, 1986, pp. 25-34.

Ḥ. Dāneš, “Tarjama-ye ḥāl-e Āqā-ye Ḥosayn Ḵān Dāneš,” Publications Iranschahr 5, Berlin, 1343/1924, pp. 18-32.

ʿA. Jawāher-kalām, “Šād-ravān Ḥosayn Dāneš,” Armaḡān 39, 1349 Š./1970, pp. 651-54.

R. Ṣafīnīā “Marḥūm-e Ḥosayn Dāneš,” Yādgār 3/6-7, 1325 Š./1946, pp. 117-20.

Türkiye Ansiklopedisi III, Ankara, 1956, p. 100.

(Peter J. Chelkowski)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: November 14, 2011

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