DARKE, Hubert Seymour Garland


DARKE, Hubert Seymour Garland (b. London, 8 May 1919, d. Cambridge, 6 February 1998), teacher and scholar of Persian, Lecturer in Persian at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies from 1961 to 1982 (FIGURE 1). Both his parents were professional musicians, and he developed an early skill and lifelong interest in choral singing and playing the piano. Educated at St. Paul’s School, London, he evinced a gift for languages and in 1938 went up to Downing College, Cambridge, to study Classics. A year later war was declared, and in 1940 he was called up and joined the Royal Corps of Signals. He spent over four years of his military service in India and Ceylon, and on resuming his interrupted studies at Cambridge decided to switch from Classics to Oriental Languages. He studied under Arthur Arberry, Ilya Gershevich, Reuben Levy, and Vladimir Minorsky, and graduated with a B.A. in Arabic and Persian in 1947, an M.A in 1949 and an M.Litt in 1957. In 1948 he married Olive Goodall, and in the same year was awarded a studentship to continue studies in Persian, which included travel to Iraq, Afghanistan, and India in 1952-53. During 1954-61 he lived with his wife and three children in Qatar, as Personnel officer for non-Europeans with the Qatar Petroleum Company.

In 1961 he was appointed University Lecturer in Persian at Cambridge, where he~ taught language and literature for the next twenty years. His particular interests were Early New Persian and Persian prosody. His major research achievement during this time was the definitive edition and translation of the Siar al-moluk (also known as the Siāsat-nāma), a manual of government by the celebrated Saljuq vizier Neẓām-al-Molk (1018-1098). From 1970 until 1993 (more than a decade after his early retirement from his lectureship) he held the position of Editorial Secretary of the Cambridge History of Iran (7 vols., 1968-91), in which capacity he outlived or outlasted numerous other members of the distinguished editorial board and secured the continuity essential to this monumental project.



The Book of Government: or, Rules for Kings : the Siyar al-Muluk or Siyasat-nama of Nizam al-Mulk, translated from the Persian by Hubert Darke, New Haven, 1960; 2nd ed., London and Boston, 1978; Persian translation as Siar al-moluk: Siāsat-nāma, Tehran, 1961.

(John Perry)

Originally Published: July 20, 2005

Last Updated: July 20, 2005