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Ali Muhaddis & Bo Utas: The Mice and the Cat. 2011. 88p. (RAAS Reports on Asian and African Studies, 3).

Uppsala University Press (Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis) has published an edition of a hitherto unknown manuscript of the Persian poem Mush u gurbah (The Cat and the Mice), ascribed to ‛Ubayd i Zakani (d. c. 1370.), a facsimile of this manuscript which is preserved in the National Library of Tunis, and translations into English and Swedish of the poem.

‛Ubayd i Zakani’s authorship of the poem is discussed and refuted in favour of a more likely theory, namely that Mush u gurbah was written at the beginning of the Safavid era by an adherent of the Pasikhani (Nuqtawi) sect. The Pasikhan’s were strongly opposed to the Safavid kings and were finally subdued during Shah Abbas I:s reign (1588-1629).

Bo Utas’ translations into English and Swedish are based on two different editions. The English translation is recent and based on the present edition of the Tunis manuscript with 162 verses. The Swedish translation originates from the late 1980s, and was first published in Karavan 2003:1, 39-41. It is based on a considerably shorter edition of the poem from the 1950s and contains only 90 verses.

Ali Muhaddis (1949-) is project assistant at Uppsala University Library.

Bo Utas (1938-) is professor emeritus in Iranian Languages at Uppsala University.

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Please also visit The Mouse and the Cat – A Political Fable with text and illustrations by the German artist Farangis Yegane.