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Reviews ^63 (p. 120b), the Boucicaut Master (p. 97a), or the Bedford Master (p. 120b). Furthermore, one reads with unease the statements '...patterns established in Paris . . . developed and disseminated by the Mdtre Francois School' and '..the style., is closely related to the Mattre Francois atelier'. The reader might well ask where the facts about the existence of this particdar 'School* or 'atelier' may be found. This publication represents a successful conclusion to the god set by the authors to bring the attention of pdaeographers, codicologists, bibliophdes and art historians the varied and often handsome manuscripts in N e w Zealand collections, a few of which were already known through D. M . Taylor's study in 1955, The Oldest Manuscripts in New Zealand. Peter Rolfe Monks Townsville Meisami, J. S., Medieval Persian Court Poetry, Princeton, Princeton U. P., 1987; pp. xiii, 345; 8 ill.; R.R.P. A U S $101.50. Iranian poetic and cultural traditions dating from pre-Islamic Sassanian times that influenced even Arabic literary tradtions of the Abbasid cdiphate of Baghdad have been discussed in innumberable monographs written in Western languages and in Persian and in Urdu. Meisami, ignoring the researches of Shibli N u mani and Mahmud Shirani published in Urdu, has mainly concentrated upon works in European languages and in Persian. Her over-reliance on the. articles of Von Grunebaum and Hodgson's The Venture of Islam, has made her historical conclusions occasionally unsound. She has, however, done adequate justice to the three major genres of Persian poetry: panegyric, romance and lyric ghazal. Sherightiyconcludes her essay on 'The poetry of praise: The qasidah and its uses' with the remark that 'the very choice of the polythematic type of qasidah [composed by Awhad d-Din Anvari (d. 1189-90?)], as opposed to panegyric without preamble, is frequendy a signal that the ultimate purpose of the poem is not purely or exclusively encomiastic, but involves more complex ends, among which the didactic and ethical are of particular importance', (p. 76) The image of the medievd Persian court poet's conception of the nature and purpose of his art was defined by Nizami Ganjavi (d. 1209) w h o m H. Ritter compares with Goethe 'as no fable but a treasure'. Meisami also underlines the fact with numerous illustrations that 'Panegyrists, romance writers, and lyric poets shared the conviction that poetry served moral ends, although the specific manner in which these ends were to be achieved varied according to the dictates of their respective genres' (p. 305). It was, however, in the microcosmic world of human love that Iranian philosophers, such as Nasir Al-Din Tusi (d. 1274), and poets perceived the true perspective for man's 'natural direction towards perfection'. It is this 164 Reviews appreciation of the nature and purpose of love that leads Meisami to devote about three quarters of her book to romance and love. Her third chapter equates romance with the language of experience and in chapter four the character as mord emblem rotates around the romance. Chapter five describes romance as mirror, predominated by allegories of kingship and justice. The ideals of love which form the principd theme of the ghazal (short lyric) arerightiyseen by Meisami as a 'distinctively Persian genre that has no exact counterpart in Arabic*. Her sixth chapter, on ghazal, discusses the dlegories and symbols of Sa'adi (d. 1292) and Hafiz (d. 1389), both from Shiraz. She deds with Hafiz in depth and points out that his ghazals 'do indeed function as a mirror, but a mirror of transcendentd truth, rather than of historical realia' (pp. 284-5). What makes Meisami's book interesting to Western readers is her comparative approach. She says, 'Important parallels exist between medieval Persian literature and that of the West, parallels that cannot be considered the result of 'influence' but must be viewed as common responses to similar cultural circumstances', (p. 310). S. A. A. Rizvi Austrdian National University Mertes, K., The English Noble Household 1250-1600: good government and politic rule, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1988; pp. x, 235; 17 plates; R.R.P.£19.50. Recovering the past from a sensitive interpretation of surviving laundry lists used to be a standard historical...