The article draws attention to the significance of a sixteenth-century (?) Persian manuscript titled Mūnis-nāma, which contains thirty-one popular tales from the late twelfth century. Most of the tales correspond to the fourteenth–fifteenth-century Ottoman Turkish tales of Faraj baʿd al-shidda, which were adapted into French as Les Mille et un jours in the early eighteenth century. Although the existence of a Persian precursor to these tales was already hypothesized, the corresponding Persian equivalents were hitherto only found in much later works (commonly known as Jāmiʿ al-ḥikāyāt) dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Predating the Ottoman Turkish works by some 200 years, the Mūnis-nāma provides an extremely valuable source for studying the historical development and transmission of specific tales from one language and culture to another. The Mūnis-nāma also contains works that can be classified as elite literature, such as advisory literature for rulers and courtiers and Sufi allegorical texts. The combination of popular and elite literature in the Mūnis-nāma blurs the traditional lines between the two realms in Persian literature and provides an excellent source for the study of elite and popular literature as parts of a larger whole. Furthermore, thanks to the compiler's detailed introduction, we know that the intended audience of the Mūnis-nāma were the female members of a royal court. A thorough examination of this work in view of its intended audience will contribute to the current scholarship on advisory literature for rulers and courtiers.


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pp. 121-140
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