Originally published in 2007, this fascinating work is based on detailed and sensitive readings of travel accounts in Persian, dealing with India, Iran and Central Asia between around 1400 and 1800. The first comprehensive treatment of this neglected genre of literature (safar nama), it links the Mughals, Safavids and Central Asia in a crucial period of transformation and cultural contact. The authors' close reading of these travel accounts help us enter the mental and moral worlds of the Muslim and non-Muslim literati who produced these valuable narratives. These accounts are presented in a comparative framework, which sets them side by side with other Asian accounts, as well as early modern European travel narratives, and opens up a rich and unsuspected vista of cultural and material history. This book can be read for a better understanding of the nature of early modern encounters, but also for the sheer pleasure of entering a new world.
"This is a highly intelligent and beautifully written study. The authors cite poetry and include many black and white renderings of miniature paintings, all of which enrich the text. Anyone whose intellectual interests are global will enjoy the challenging and rewarding adventure that the travellers and authors provide."
--The Northern Mariner
"....Comparative in approach, the authors also critically draw on the European discourse of travel writing as discovery and ethnography in this geographic area....the book consists of extensive summaries of the works grouped under broad headings that categorize the accounts according to the attitudes of the writers....Combining the linguistic and historical acumen of two formidable scholars, this book is sure to open up many avenues for future research."
--Sunil Sharma, Boston University, The Historian
"It is remarkable what is shared and not shared in this Indo-Persian world. Travel literature-in both the theoretical discussions and the glimpses into the authors' own motivations, assumptions, preferences, and complaints-brings this world alive. Indo-Persian Travels enables this corpus of travel literature to illuminate the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the period."
--Monica M. Ringer, Amherst College, Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"The primary value of this work for educators is that it can be utilized to greatly expand the knowledge and understanding of the Indo-Persian culture, and to a lesser extent that of the eastern Mediterranean. The mulitcultural nature of the travel accounts lends the work to comparative studies in political, religious, and economic systems. Overall, the comparative organization of the travel narratives makes this work a valuable tool in reconstructing the encounters between not only East and West, but also the regional empires of India, Persia, and the Ottoman Turks of Anatolia."
--World History Bulletin
"...a masterful travelogue of travelogues..." -Jamsheed K. Choksy, American Historical Review