"The comparative study of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) is significant for several reasons. Firstly, Rumi’s Mathnawi is one of the most challenging mystical literary works in Persian literature as well as the Islamic world. In the same way, Whitman’s major work Leaves of Grass is considered one of the most challenging literary works not only in the history of American literature but in world literature. Secondly, Whitman sets forth a new concept of mysticism in poetry as a natural reaction to the material world while Rumi, on the other hand, postulates a traditional concept of mysticism in his rhymed poems as an internal response to the universe.
Rumi and Whitman both admire the body and the soul, the material as well as the spiritual, evil and good. Therefore, one can find elements from various religions, non-religious and philosophical concepts in their literary works; elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Rumi’s Mathnawi contains the roots of religion, and deals with the discovery of the mysteries of reunion and certain knowledge..."
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Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Rumi’s Mathnawi
Related Reading Materials:
- Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
- Maulana Rumi's Mathnawi
- The Rose-Gardens of the World:
Near East Imagery in the Poetry of Walt Whitman
- The Ecstatic Whitman: The Body and Sufistic Influences in Leaves of Grass
- Sufism and American Literary Masters