"Jalaloddin Rumi Questions for Alfred J. Drake's English 242: World Literature 400-1600 CE, Spring 2009 at Chapman University"



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Assigned: Jalaloddin Rumi. "Selections" (1544-49).

1. In one or more poems, how does the poet reflect on his medium (the written word) as a vehicle for arriving at the sort of authenticity or truth he seeks? What can words do? What can't they do, and why?

2. Rumi's mystical poetry seems to thrive on paradoxical statements, or, to put the case another way, to thrive on exploiting the gap between seeming and being -- choose any one or more poems and discuss this aspect of his poetry. ("The Question" is probably the most obvious choice, but not the only one.)

3. What relationship to God does the seeker strive for or posit in any one or more of the selected poems? What relationship does he achieve?

Edition: Lawall, Sarah, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Volumes 1ABC. New York: Norton, 2002. ISBN A = 0-393-97755-2, B = 0-393-97756-0, C = 0-393-97757-9.