Ehsan Yarshater

Ehsan Yarshater
Native name احسان یارشاطر
Born (1920-04-03) April 3, 1920
Hamadan, Iran
Alma mater University of Tehran, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Occupation Director of the Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University

Ehsan Yarshater (Persian: احسان يارشاطر, born April 3, 1920) is the founder and director of The Center for Iranian Studies, and Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Columbia University. He was the first full-time professor of Persian at a U.S. university since World War II.[1]

He is one of the 40 editors of the Encyclopædia Iranica, [2]with articles by 300 authors from various academic institutions. He also edited the third volume of the Cambridge History of Iran, comprising the history of the Seleucid, the Parthians, and the Sassanians, and a volume entitled Persian Literature. He is also an editor of a sixteen-volume series named History of Persian Literature.[3] He has won several International awards for scholarship, including a UNESCO award in 1959, and the Giorgio Levi Della Vida Medal for Achievement in Islamic Studies from UCLA in 1991.[4] Lecture series in his name have been instituted at the University of London, and the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

Life and career

Born in Hamedan, Persia (Iran), Ehsan Yarshater studied Persian language and literature at the University of Tehran and Iran philology (Old and Middle Iranian) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London with Walter Bruno Henning. His Tehran University dissertation dealt with Persian poetry under the Timurid Shahrukh (15th century). His University of London dissertation, elaborated and published later as A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects (Mouton, 1969), describes a series of Tati dialects spoken in the southwest of Qazvin.

He has published a number of articles on modern western Iranian dialects, notably Tati and Taleshi, and the Jewish dialects of Persian (including Lotara'i), and on Persian mythology.

Although born into a Baha'i family, he has said he has had no affiliation with the religion as an adult.[5]


  1. Theorems and Remarks* (al-Isharat wa'l-tanbihat) by Avicenna, tr. into Persian in the 13th century; annotated edition. Tehran, National Monuments Society, 1953.
  2. Five Treaties in Arabic and Persian (Panj Resala) by Ibn Sina, annotated edition. Tehran, National Monuments Society, 1953.
  3. Persian Poetry under Shah Rokh: The Second Half of the 15th Century (Sher-e parsi dar 'ahd-e Shahrokh). Tehran, the Tehran University Press, 1955.
  4. Legends of the Epic of Kings (Dastanha-ye Shahnama). Tehran: Iran-American Joint Fund Publications, 1957, 1958, 1964; 2nd ed. 1974, 1982 (awarded a UNESCO prize in 1959).
  5. Old Iranian Myths and Legends (Dastanha-ye Iran-e bastan). Tehran: Iran-American Joint Fund Publications, 1957, 1958, 1964 (Royal Award for the best book of the year, 1959).
  6. With W.B. Henning (eds.). A Locust's Leg: Studies in Honour of S.H. Taqizadeh. London, 1962.
  7. Modern Painting (Naqqashi-e novin). 2 vols. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1965–66; 2nd printing, 1975.
  8. A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects, Median Dialect Studies I. The Hague and Paris, Mouton and Co., 1969.
  9. Iran Faces the Seventies (ed.). New York, Praeger Publishers, 1971.
  10. With D. Bishop (eds.). Biruni Symposium. New York, Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, 1976.
  11. Selected Stories from the Shahnama (Bargozida-ye dastanha-ye Shahnama), Vol. I. Tehran, BTNK, 1974; reprint, Washington, D.C., Iranian Cultural Foundation, 1982.
  12. With David Bivar (eds.). Inscriptions of Eastern Mazandaran, Corpus Inscriptionem Iranicarum. London, Lund and Humphries, 1978.
  13. With Richard Ettinghausen (eds.). Highlights of Persian Art. New York, Bibliotheca Persica, 1982.
  14. Sadeq Hedayat: An Anthology (ed.). New York, Bibliotheca Persica, 1979.
  15. Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. III: Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian Periods (ed.). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  16. Persian Literature (ed.). New York, State University of New York Press, 1988.
  17. History of Al-Tabari: Volumes 1-40 (ed.). New York, State Univ of New York Press, 2007.


  1. Cohen, Patricia (2011-08-13). "A Lifetime Quest to Finish a Monumental Encyclopedia of Iran". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  2. U.S.-funded encyclopedia revels in Iran's greatness. Associated Press, March 26, 2007.
  3. "A History of Persian Literature". Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, New York.
  4. "Ehsan Yarshater". Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, New York.
  5. Ashraf, Ahmad (2007-04-05). "Official response of the Encyclopaedia Iranica to the Associated Press article of March 25, 2007 entitled "U.S.-funded encyclopedia revels in Iran's greatness"" (PDF). Encyclopedia Iranica. Archived from the original on 2013-04-02.

See also

External links

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