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Document Details :
Title: The Poet and His Patrons
Subtitle: Two Ghaznavid Panegyrists
Author(s): MEISAMI, Julie Scott
Volume: 17 Date: 2001
Among Professor Hans de Bruijn's many contributions to the study of Persian poetry, his discussion of the influence of patronage on the poetic production of Sanā'ī of Ghazna (d. 525/1131) stands out as the first major effort at addressing this important issue. De Bruijn disputed the traditional image of San?'? as a court poet who, after a mystical “conversion”, dedicated himself to composing religious poetry, and showed us instead a poet who, failing to secure satisfactory patronage at the court of the Ghaznavid Mas'ūd III (492-508/1099-1115), turned to religious patrons, for whom he composed panegyrics, homiletic poetry, and poems to be used in preaching. Sanā'ī also produced song-texts (ġazals) for professional minstrels; and when he returned to the Ghaznavid court in the reign of Bahrāmšāh (511-52?/1117-57?), he dedicated to that ruler both his homiletic maṯnawī the Ḥadīqat al-ḥaqīqa and umerous panegyrics in the qaṣīda and ġazal forms. The diversity of Sanā'ī's patrons, and of his poetic output, raises broader questions about the nature of literary patronage; and Professor de Bruijn's study illustrates the need for a more extensive exploration of this issue. In his doctoral thesis on Sanā'ī Franklin Lewis addressed this issue further; but it remains to be seen whether Sanā'ī's case is exceptional, or whether it reflects changing patterns of patronage at the courts of the later Ghaznavids.