Love Gone Wrong, Then Right Again: Male/Female Dynamics in the Bahram Gur-Slave Girl Story.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alyssa Gabbay, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: This article examines male/female dynamics in three versions of the classical story of the Sassanian prince Bahram Gur and his lyre-playing slave girl: that of the Shahnama of Firdawsi, the Haft Paykar of Nizami Ganjavi, and the Hasht Bihisht of Amir Khusraw. It argues that each version provides progressively more positive depictions of intergender dynamics, ones that are contingent upon more egalitarian understandings of the male/female dichotomy. The later authors destabilize the categories of “male” and “female,” equalizing and even uniting the dichotomous pairs, so that men and women draw nearer to each other in qualities rather than remaining in their usual polarized positions. In the Hasht Bihisht, moreover, we witness a reversal of hierarchies in which traditionally feminine qualities receive preference over masculine virtues—an act that suggests fresh possibilities for harmonious interactions between the sexes.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Islamic studies, gender studies, male/female dynamics, gender identity, Islamic literature, intergender dynamics, Hasht Bihisht, Amir Khusraw

Email this document to