MAHJUB, MOHAMMAD JA ’ FAR (Moḥammad Jaʿfar Maḥjub, b. Tehran, 1 Šahrivar 1303  Š./23 August 1924; d. Los Angeles, 27 Bahman 1374  Š./17 February 1996) prominent scholar of Persian literature, essayist, translator, university teacher, and one of the founders of the discipline of folklore in Iran (FIGURE 1).


Although Mahjub’s given name was Moḥammad Jaʿfar, his family called him by the nickname, Amir.  His father, ʿAli Akbar, was born in Tehran in 1871, although his ancestors may have immigrated to Tehran from the Bahḵtiāri region (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 1-5). He was an apothecary (ʿaṭṭār), who went on to take the examination at Dār al-fonun, and received a permit to work as a druggist (dārusāz).  He had learned Arabic and some French in the course of his education. The family of his mother, Noṣrat al-Šariʿa, had moved to Tehran from the village of Sinak at the outkirts of the city.  It was his father’s sister, who arranged for her brother, a fifty-two year old bachelor, to marry Mahjub’s mother, who taught at the girls’ school that she had established at their family home. Mahjub was a precocious child and learned the alphabet as he freely went from class to class.  Once his parents realized that he could read, his father taught him the Qurʾan, and Mahjub had read the entire text by the age of seven (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 1-11).

At the age of six or seven, he was tested to determine which grade he should be assigned to. He was allowed to go to the fourth grade. Mahjub, who was quite small even for his age, was regularly bullied by his classmates, who were three or four years his senior. This may have been the source of his later interest in physical education and may have fueled his studies of ʿayyāri and javānmardi, which in their honor codes emphasize the protection of the poor and the vulnerable.

Mahjub entered high school as a frail ten-year-old child in 1934 and continued to remain the object of bullying and abuse.  He changed high schools several times and started a period of malingering that resulted in some academic failure.  Once, he was called to the principal’s office and was advised that, unless he strengthened himself, he would certainly not live through the next year.  Terrified, he ran home and hysterically demanded that his parents provide him with means of exercising.  One of his maternal uncles who frequented a traditional gymnasium (zur-ḵāna) bought him a pair of traditional implements of physical training, and he threw himself into exercising during his adolescent years (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 26-29).  His obsession with physical training and his habitual truancy resulted in his failing the third year of secondary school.  During the following summer, he began to work at a relative’s weaving workshop. He completed the fifth grade of high school in 1941(Mahjub, 2006, p. 30).

To complete his high school education, Mahjub first enrolled at the Veterinary College (Madrasa-ye ʿāli-ye beyṭāri; see Dām pezeški) and later, in November 1943, at the Alborz College, where he found himself studying with such teachers as Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari (1914-1991; see KHANLARI [pending]), Maḥmud Ṣanāʿi, Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā (1911-1999), and Naṣr-Allāh Falsafi, who all rose to prominence in their later academic careers.  He graduated from Alborz in 1944. Throughout the period of studying at Alborz, Mahjub also worked as a carpenter’s apprentice in the evenings in order to support himself (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 33–39). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from Tehran University in 1947. Meanwhile he got a job as a stenographer at the Majles, and he continued in the position until 1963.

While working at the Majles, Mahjub was recruited into the Tudeh Party (see Communism i and ii) and was assigned to its press division (Afšār, 1966, pp. 8-9), where he remained for some ten years. He and Šāhroḵ Meskub (1925-2005) worked as staff writers at the newspaper, Qiyām-e Irān.  Many of the unsigned editorials that were published in the newspaper throughout 1947-48 were penned by Mahjub (Mahjub, 2006, p. 89).  He continued to write on national politics for Qiyām-e Irān until it was shut down in 1949, after the assassination attempt against the shah (Meskub, p. 175). Following the closing of Qiyām-e Irān, Mahjub moved on to other newspapers and magazines such as Be su-ye āyanda, the unofficial publicity organ of the Tudeh Party. His work at the leftist press during his Tudeh Party years and his translations from French and Arabic gave him enough confidence to jointly author with ʿAli Akbar Farzāmpur a handbook on composition, largely in order to spare students the pains that he had suffered in his composition classes.  This handbook was published as Fann-e negāreš yā rāhnemā-ye enšāʾ  in 1954 and has been reprinted many times since.

Disillusioned by the Tudeh Party’s stance with respect to the nationalization of Iran’s oil industry, its blind obedience to Moscow, and its failure to protect its members, many of whom were captured and executed as a result of the Party’s inattention to security (see Communism iii. In Persia after 1953) after the coup that ended the premiership of Moḥammad Moṣaddeq (see Coup d'Etat of 1332  Š./1953), he severed all relationship with it (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 64-73; idem, 2002, p. 24). He was especially devastated by the arrest and execution of Morteżā Keyvān (1921-1954), whom he had introduced to the Tudeh Party, and for whom he had served as one of his two membership sponsors.  “I remain quite unable to come to terms with his loss.  Every so often I dream that Morteżā Kayvān is still alive, but is very sick or is weak and needs taking care of in order to get better. I feel a great deal of guilt about this” (Mahjub, 2006, p. 74).  He comes back to Keyvān’s arrest and execution again and again in the course of his interviews (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 73-74, 76, 84-86, 116-17).  Perhaps this profound feeling of guilt prevented him from ever meddling in politics again, as he kept strictly to scholarly endeavors for the rest of his life.

Following a short period of cooperation with the periodical Ṣadaf, Mahjub was invited to contribute articles to Soḵan, the outstanding monthly literary journal edited and published in Tehran by Parviz Nātel Ḵānlari, Mahjub’s former teacher.  He published a number of scholarly articles and book reviews in Soḵan and maintained his relationship with it until it was shut down in 1978 (Meskub, p.176).  His work with Soḵan is not only important from a literary point of view, but it also marks the beginning of his folkloristic studies.

He received his second bachelor's degree from Tehran University in Persian literature in 1954. During this time, he also taught at various private high schools such as Hadaf and Ḵˇārazmi, where he was highly regarded by the administrators and students alike. He was appointed as Assistant Professor at the Teachers Training College in 1960 and received his Ph.D. in Persian literature from Tehran University in 1963. His dissertation was later published as Sabk-e ḵorāsāni dar šeʿr-e fārsi (Khorasani style in Persian poetry, Tehran, 1966) to high critical acclaim. It has gone through several printings since its publication and is widely considered as standard book for the subject (Parvin Gonābādi, pp. 606-9).

Mahjub attained to full professorship of Persian literature at the Teachers Training College in 1968 and taught a number of courses at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Tehran. He was invited to teach at Oxford University as a visiting scholar in the academic year of 1971-72. He was a guest professor at the University of Strasbourg in the academic year of 1972-73.  In 1974 he was appointed Iran’s cultural attaché in Pakistan, a job that he held until 1979.  Following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when the directors of the National Academy of Language and Literature (Farhangestān-e zabān o adab) and the National Academy of Art (Farhangestān-e honar) were purged, Mahjub agreed to take over both positions, and he served as the caretaker of these institutions from 1979 to 1980.  However, it did not take long for him to resign from both positions and leave the country for Paris, where he gave a series of weekly lectures on Persian folk literature at École Pierre Brossolette.  The lectures were arranged by the noted poet Yadollāh Royāʾi (Meskub, p.182).  Mahjub taught as a visiting professor of Persian literature at the University of Strasbourg from 1982 to 1984 (Mahjub, 2006, p. 135) and was the President of the Persian Cultural Society in Paris from 1986 to 1993.

After a few years of living in Europe, Mahjub moved to the United States, and he began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991.  He continued teaching his classes almost to the end of his life, even though he had been weakened by the attack of prostate cancer that finally took his life (Pārsinežād, p. 85).  Mahjub was a most interesting conversationalist, adorning his talk with jokes and lines of verse.  His skills as a lecturer were as great as his prodigious memory, which left a lasting mark on his friends, students, and listeners (Afšār, 2004, p. 822; Daryābandari, p. 28; Mahdavi-Dāmḡāni, p. 581).  His lectures in his classes were taped and have recently been published in Iran as compact discs by the publishers of Māhur Music Quarterly. Mahjub died at the age of seventy-two in Berkeley, California as a result of his cancer.


Folklore studies. Mahjub’s contributions to folklore studies, which began after the publication of Sadeq Hedayat’s pioneering collection of folk beliefs in his Neyrangestān (Tehran, 1933) and Henri Massé's (1886-1969) Croyances et coutumes persanes suivies de contes et chansons populaires (Les littératures populaires de toutes les nations, N.S. 4, Paris, 1938), may not strictly fall within the Western definition of folklore, which in a broad sense, defines folk stories as narratives of unknown authorship that exist in multiple versions. But what Mahjub concentrated on in his studies was a variety of written folklore called adab-e ʿavām or adab-e avāmāna, which may or may not be of “unknown” authorship.  For instance, the life and career of Naqib al-Mamālek, the court storyteller or naqqālbāši of Nāṣer al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) and author of the story of Amir Arsalān, which Mahjub edited in 1961, are quite well known and documented, while such similar books as Dāstān-e Širuya and Dalila-ye moḥtāla, which existed in written form at least since the 11th century C.E., and which are not considered to be part of Iran’s “literary canon,” are of unknown authorship. 

It is not “folklore” in its Western sense that Mahjub studied and brought into Persian literary history but the genre of “folksy” narrative that exists in that mediating space which separates the formal literature of the elite from the more accessible written narratives of the folk (ʿavām).  For this reason, Mahjub divides adab-e ʿavām, which may be loosely translated as “folksy literature,” into that which exists only in oral form and was never committed to paper, and that which existed in written form from day one. This important feature of Persian folklore is often neglected by scholars who function within the Western paradigm of what constitutes “folklore” and what is identified as “literature.” To quote Mahjub: “What I have done has been to focus on a very small area of written folk stories” (Mahjub, 2006, pp.131-32).

For his edition of Amir Arsalān, Mahjub collated a lithograph copy dated 1315 AH/1898 with a manuscript that belonged to the Malek Library, and he provided an extensive introduction on the language of the text and its place in the literary tradition (Hanaway, p. 958).  The Amir Arsalān was published in 1961 in 10,000 copies, and was soon sold out. A second printing of another 10,000 had to be published.

Encouraged by Ḵānlari to contribute articles on the genres of Persian folk tradition to Soḵan, Mahjub undertook fieldwork on a form of coffeehouse folk oratory known as soḵanvari. He borrowed and studied several soḵanvari manuscripts (see Bayāż), and wrote three articles on the subject, which were published in Soḵan (9/6, pp. 530–35; 9/7, pp. 631–37; 9/8, pp. 779–86). They were reprinted, along with his series of twenty-two articles on various traditional Persian stories, originally published in Soḵan, as Adabiyāt-e ʿāmiāne-ye Irān:  Majmuʿa-ye maqālāt darbāra-ye afsānahā va ādāb o rosum-e mardom-e Irān  (Tehran, 2002). Compiled by Ḥasan Ḏolfaqāri, the book also offers a biography of Mahjub and a fairly complete bibliography of his works.

Mahjub’s most important contribution to the field is his highly acclaimed Farhang-e loḡāt-e ʿāmiyāna (A dictionary of folk expressions), which is attributed to Mohammad-ʿAli Jamalzadeh. It should be noted, however, that Jamalzadeh’s actual contribution to this volume was the submission of a collection of notes on such expressions.  During one of Iraj Afšār’s visits to him in Switzerland, Jamalzadeh asked him to see to it that his notes on Persian slang would be published (Afšār, 2004, p. 833).  Afšār told him that Mahjub was the only qualified person for the task in Iran, and Jamalzadeh gave his notes to Afšār and asked him to pass them on to Mahjub for publication.  In the course of preparing these notes for printing, Mahjub not only corrected the numerous errors of the original text, but also increased the dictionary’s bulk by nearly one-third.  Furthermore, he wrote a detailed introduction to the volume, which is an archetypal treatise in its own right.  He later supervised the publication of the volume in Iran (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 127-29). Following the publication of this dictionary and his series of essays on folk literature, Mahjub’s reputation in the field grew remarkably.  Jalāl al-Din Homāʾi praised him as the man who added a lost chapter to the study of Persian literature (Matini, p. 2; Mahdavi Dāmḡāni, p. 866).

Critical editions of classical texts. Mahjub learned the art of editing from the great scholars whom he assisted in their work.  He proofread Modarres-e Rażavi’s edition of the Divan of Anwari, and closely worked with Badiʿ-al-Zamān Foruzanfar in editing Rumi's Divan-e Šams, as well as Foruzanfar’s Aḥādiṯ-e Maṯnavi.  He also helped with Parvin Gonābādi’s translation of Ebn Ḵaldun’s al-Moqaddama into Persian (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 165-70).  Mahjub’s long treatise on Kalila va Demna, originally his B.A. essay, appeared in two installments in Farhang-e Irān-zamin, a research quarterly published by Iraj Afšār (vol. 5, 1957, pp. 97-26; vol. 7, 1959, pp. 253-82; reprinted in an independent volume as Dar bāra-ye Kalila va Demna: Tāriḵča, tarjoma-hā, va do bāb-e tarjoma našoda az Kalila va Demna (Tehran, 1957). Although more than half a century old, this essay remains an excellent study of the subject. Mahjub had also prepared an edition of the text of the Kalila va Demna.  However, because he found out that Mojtabā Minovi (1903-1976) was working on an edition of the text, he shelved his edition and did not pursue the project any further.

It appears that Minovi was also irked by Mahjub’s work on another literary text that he had edited himself, namely, Vis o Rāmin, an 11th-century romance in verse by Faḵr al-Din Asʿad Gorgāni. In his preface to the work Minovi promised to publish his notes and comments on the work in an independent volume.  But that volume never appeared (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 124-25). Mahjub’s edition of the romance with a detailed Introduction was published in 1959.

Mahjub also edited the divans of Qāʾāni (1957), Soruš-e Eṣfahāni (1960), Iraj Mirza (1962; FIGURE 2), and the Sufi text Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq (1966) by Maʿṣum ʿAlišāh Neʿmat-ʿAllāhi. These publications have all remained authoritative in spite of their age. His critical edition of the works of ʿObayd Zākāni, published posthumously as Kolliyāt-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni (New York, 1999; FIGURE 3), has become the standard text of the poet’s work (Purjavādi, pp. 66-68; Meneghini, 2003, pp. 241-45). The volume’s detailed introduction is a reprint of Mahjub’s previously published articles about ʿObayd’s works and the manuscripts that were used in preparing this critical edition.  The first part of the introduction combines two of Mahjub’s essays (“Barrasi-e āṯār-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni,” Iranšenāsi, part 1 in 6/3, 1373 Š./1994, pp. 491-509, part 2 in 6/4, 1373 Š./1995, pp. 795-816; repr. in Kolliyāt-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni, pp. xviii-lvii), and it remains, after nearly two decades, one of the best available assessments of the poet’s work.  In the second part, a description of the different manuscripts of ʿObayd’s serious and satirical works, Mahjub draws an important distinction between the manuscripts that were copied by Iranian copyists, and those that were copied by scribes who either did not know Persian and Arabic or did not know them well enough (Mahjub, 1999, p. xx).  This part of the introduction is a conflation of Mahjub’s published essays on the subject (“Moʿarrefi-e dast-nevishā-ye āṯār-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni,” Iranšenāsi, part in 6/1, 1375 Š./1994, pp. 139-59, part 2 in 6/2, 1373 Š./1994, pp. 287-304; repr. in Kolliyāt-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni, pp. lviii-xciii). The edition has enjoyed high critical acclaim; as noted by a critic, it is void of “resorting to dots as substitutes for terms denoting sexual organs or obscenities, a common practice in editions of the hazliyyāt genre published in Iran” (Meneghini, 2008).

Mahjub’s other posthumously published major work is his critical edition of the versified Sendbād-nāma by ʿAżod-e Yazdi (b. 716/1316), a contemporary of Hafez, who versified the story in 776/1374.  Mahjub edited the text from its sole surviving manuscript, which is missing a number of folios (Mahjub, 2002, p. 87).  Interestingly enough, Mahjub decided to correct the existing lacuna in his manuscript and asked Moḥammd Jalāli Čimeh (aka M. Saḥar), an Iranian poet of his acquaintance who resided in Paris, to versify the missing sections of the story from its available prose version by Ẓahiri Samarqandi.  These 538 verses have been inserted in the narrative in italics (Mahjub, 2002, p. 88).

Mahjub’s edition of Fotovvat-nāma-ye solṭāni, a treatise on spiritual chivalry and its relationship to Sufism and medieval guild life in Iran, by Mollā Ḥosayn Vāʿeẓ Kāšefi, was published in 1971. The English translation of the book by J. R. Crook appeared as The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry (Chicago, 2000). Mahjub’s detailed introduction to Fotovvat-nāma was later expanded and published as Āyin-e javānmardi yā fotovvat by the Bibliotheca Persica Press (New York, 2000).

Translations. Early in his career, Mahjub tried his hand at translation, primarily from French or Arabic, with great success. His first income was what he earned for his translation of a play by the Egyptian author Tawfiq al-Hakim (1898- 1987), which was staged in the Tehran Playhouse in three acts, and was later performed as a radio play as well.  Mahjub also translated George Bernard Shaw’s (1856-1950) Saint Joan (1924), under the title of Žāndārk.  This translation was made from an Arabic translation of the text, and it was never published.  However, Mahjub considered it his first experiment in the art of translating (Mahjub, 2006, p. 120). Mahjub translated The Pearl (1947) by John Steinbeck (1902-1968) from the French translation of the story (“La vengeance de la Perle”, Elle Magazine, 1948), during the period when he lived in hiding at a friend’s house after the assassination attempt against the shah and the shutting down of Qiyām-e Irān (Mahjub, 2006, pp. 117-18; cf. Meskub, p. 184). It was published as Enteqām-e morvārid in 1949.  His translation of Jack London’s (1876-1916) South Sea Tales (1911), entitled Dāstānhā-ye Daryā-ye Jonub, appeared in 1951 and was followed by the translation of the same author’s The Iron Heel (1907), which was published as Pāšna-ye āhanin sometime before 1953. The book appeared under the pseudonym “M. Ṣobhdam” and was quickly sold out.  Following the 1953 coup, this book was added to the list of forbidden literature in Iran and was not openly published again until after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when it was published several times using the original pseudonym.  Next, he translated Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s (1821-1881) The House of the Dead (1861) as Ḵāṭerāt-e ḵāna-ye mordagān (1956), and a number of other stories by Jack London (Ḏolfaqāri pp. 18-19).  Mahjub’s skill as a translator and a scholar is best showcased in his translation of two chapters of the Kalila va Demna from Naṣr-Allah Monši's 12th-century version translated from Arabic.  These chapters are appended to his monograph on the book (Mahjub, 1957, pp. 238-59).  He also translated an essay on stylistics by Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), which he included in his book on the Khorasani style in poetry.

Other works. Aside from his many important editions of classical Persian prose and poetry and his instrumental role in the editing and publication of an illustrated edition of Šāh-nāma, known as Šāh-nāma-ye Amir Kabir (see ʿAbd-al-Raḥim Jaʿfari, Dar jost o ju-ye ṣobḥ, Tehran, 2004, pp. 626-42), two collections of Mahjub’s papers on the Šāh-nāma and on classical Persian literature appeared in 1992 and 1999 respectively.  The first, entitled Āfarin-e Ferdowsi, is a collection of thirty-five papers on various epic themes that seems to be addressed to the younger generation.  The essays in this volume, although beautifully written, entertaining, and informative, are not entirely devoid of philological errors, nor are they terribly technical (see Āmuzegār 1993, p. 195).  The second volume, Ḵākestar-e hasti (The ashes of life, Tehran, 1999; FIGURE 4) is a collection of forty-five short papers that cover poetry, prose, and historical and cultural topics.  The essays are preceded by a preface by Bozorg-e ʿAlavi (pp. 5-9), the text of Mahjub’s last interview with Nāṣer Zerāʿti and Morteżā Negāhi, in which he reminisces about his life and expresses some of his opinions about Persian literature and culture (pp. 9-33), and an introductory essay, entitled “Soḵani bā ḵˇānanda” (pp. 33-41).  In this introductory essay, Mahjub argues that careful study of Iran’s written heritage is Iran’s main defense against encroaching decay of Persian culture.  The volume, although written in Mahjub’s typically clear and elegant prose, is somewhat uneven.  Some of its papers are quite accessible and even somewhat elementary.  They are clearly designed to help the uninitiated through the more difficult passages of classical Persian prose and poetry.  Others, such as the pieces on the constitutional revolution and Persian literature—“Mašruṭiyat va šeʿr o adab-e Pārsi” (pp. 431-42) and “Maḥmud o Ayāz: ʿešq yā šahvat” (pp. 379-88)—are more in line with academic writings.

A somewhat neglected aspect of Mahjub’s scholarship is his skill in writing reviews. Of note is his extensive commentary on Ḥāfeẓ be saʿy-e Sāyeh by Hušang Ebtehāj, in which he disputed several of the latter’s emendations. (For the text of the article see “Darbāra-ye Ḥāfeẓ be saʿy-e Sāyeh,” Kelk 60, Esfand 1373 Š./March 1995pp. 252-75.) His sarcastic review of Nāṣer-al-Din Šāh-Ḥoseyni’s edition of Suzani-e Samarqandi’s Divān (Rāhnemā-ye Ketāb 2/4, 1338 Š./1960, pp. 550-59) displays the stylistic flourish of Mahjub. Few scholars have contributed in so many different ways to the knowledge of the various aspects of Persian culture and literature.


Selected editions and other works

Amir Arsalān: bā moqaddama-i dar aḥvāl-e moʾallef va moʿarrefi-e ketāb, Tehran, 1961.

Āyin-e javānmardi yā fotovvat, New York, 2000.

Adabiyāt-e ʿāmiyāna-ye Irān, ed., Ḥosayn Ḏolfaqāri, 2nd printing, Tehran, 2004.

Āfarin-e Ferdowsi, Tehran, 1992.

Dar bāra-ye Kalila va Demna: Tāriḵča, tarjomahā, va do bāb-e tarjoma našoda az Kalila va Demna, Tehran, 1957.

Divān-e Qāāni-e Širāzi: bā moqaddama-ye enteqādi o šarḥ, Tehran, 1957.

Divān-e Soruš-e Eṣfahāni, Tehran, 1960.

Fann-e negāreš yā rāhnemā-ye enšāʾ, with ʿAli Akbar Farzāmpur, Tehran, 1954.

Farhang-e loḡāt-e ʿāmiyāna, Tehran, with Moḥammad ʿAli Jamālzādeh, 1962.

Fotovvat-nāma-ye solṭāni (by Mollā Ḥosayn Vāʿeẓ Kāšefi), ed., Tehran, 1971.

Ḵākestar-e Hasti, Tehran, 1999.

Ḵāṭerāt (Interview with Farroḵ Ḡaffāri, February 1984),  Oral History Program, Foundation for Iranian Studies, Bethesda, Md.

Kolliyāt-e ʿObayd-e Zākāni, ed., New York, 1999.

Sabk-e Ḵorāṣni dar šeʿr-e Fārsi, Tehran, 1966.

Sendbād-nāma-ye manẓum, soruda-ye ʿAżod-e Yazdi, ed., Tehran, 2002.

Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq (by Maʿṣum ʿAlišāh Neʿmat-ʿAllāhi), ed., 3 vols., Tehran, 1966

Taḥqiq dar aḥvāl o āṯār o afkār o ašʿār-e Iraj Mirzā va ḵānadān o niākān-e u, Tehran, 1970; 7th printing with additions, Los Angeles, 2003

Vis o Rāmin (by Faḵr al-Din Asʿad Gorgāni), ed., Tehran, 1959

Selected translations

House of the Dead (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1861), as Ḵāṭerāt-e ḵāna-ye mordagān, Tehran, 1956.

The Iron Heel (Jack London, 1907), under the pseudonym, “M. Ṣobhdam,” as Pāšna-ye āhanin, Tehran, ca. 1953.  

The Pearl (John Steinbeck, 1947), as Enteqām-e morvārid, Tehran, 1949.

South Sea Tales (Jack London, 1911), as Dāstānhā-ye Daryā-ye Jonub, Tehran, 1951.

Mahjub’s interpretation and recitation of the selected tales of Ferdowsi’s Šāh-nāma, and Sa’di’s Bustān, as well poems of Nezami Ganjavi, Hafez, and Rumi, are recorded on audio compact discs in his attractive voice (available at Musicshop, (



Aḥmad Mahdavi-Dāmḡāni, “Be yād-e ostādi ke raft,” Kelk, 71-72, Bahman-Esfand 1374 Š./February-March 1996, pp. 574-83.

Najaf Daryābandari, “Dust-e man Amir-e Maḥjub,” Jahān-e Ketāb, 1/10-11, Bahman 1374 Š./February 1996, pp. 28-29.

William Hanaway, “Amīr Arsalān,” in Encyclopaedia Iranica II, 1987, p. 958.

Jalāl Matini, “U faṣl-e gomšoda-i rā be tāriḵ-e adabiyāt-e Irān afzud,” Iranshenasi 5/1, spring 1993, pp. 1-7.

Daniella Meneghini, “ʿOBAYD ZĀKĀNI, edited by Mohammad-Jafar Mahjoub, Persian Text Series, New Series, no. 2, New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 1999,” Middle Eastern Literatures, 6/2, July 2003, pp. 241-45. 

Idem, ʿObayd Zākāni, Encyclopædia Iranica Online, 2008.

Šāhroḵ Meskub, “Be yād-e dusti adib o farzāna,” Iran Nameh 14/3, Fall 1996, pp. 175-86.

Iraj Pārsinežād, “Bā yād-e ān rāvi-e širin-goftār,” Iranshenasi 8/3, Fall 1996, pp. 79–85.

Moḥammad Parvin Gonābādi, “Sabk-e ḵorāsāni dar šeʿr-e fārsi,” Rāhnemā-ye Ketāb, 10/6, Esfand 1336 Š./March 1968, pp. 606-9.

Naṣr-al-Allāh Purjavādi, “Dar havāpaymā, hamrāh bā ʿObayd,” Našr-e Dāneš, 17/2, Tir 1379 Š./July 2000, pp. 66-68.

(Mahmoud Omidsalar)

Originally Published: January 1, 2000

Last Updated: September 14, 2012