From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
West-östlicher Diwan or West-östlicher Divan or West-Eastern Divan is a diwan, or collection of lyrical poems by the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The work was inspired by the Persian poet Hafez.
The West-Eastern Divan was written between 1814 and 1819, the year when it was first published. An expanded version was printed in 1827. It is part of Goethe's late work and the last great cycle of poetry he worked on.
The West-Eastern Divan consists of twelve books:
- Book of the Singer (Moganni Nameh)
- Book of Hafiz (Hafis Nameh)
- Book of Love (Uschk Nameh)
- Book of Reflection (Tefkir Nameh)
- Book of Ill Humour (Rendsch Nameh)
- Book of Maxims (Hikmet Nameh)
- Book of Timur (Timur Nameh)
- Book of Zuleika (Suleika Nameh)
- Book of the Cupbearer (Saki Nameh)
- Book of Parables (Mathal Nameh)
- Book of the Parsees (Parsi Nameh)
- Book of Paradise (Chuld Nameh)
The work can be seen as a symbol for a stimulating exchange and mixture between Orient and Occident while the expression west- eastern does not only refer to German- Middle-eastern, but also Latin-Persian, Christian-Muslim stimulus. The twelve books consist of poetry of all different kinds: parables, historical allusions, pieces of invective, politically or religiously inclined poetry mirroring the attempt to bring together Orient and Occident.
For a better understanding Goethe added Notes and Queries, commenting on historical figures and events, terms and places.