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Iranian Studies Book Launch: Love at a Crux

May 17 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies
and the Canadian Society of Iranian and Persian Studies
jointly present:

Love at a Crux: The New Persian Romance in a Global Middle Ages

by Prof. Cameron Cross (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Friday, May 17, 2024 1 pm Eastern Time (Canada & US)

Rm 200B, 4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1C1

Rm 304, 4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1C1

Zoom Meeting Registration:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Love at a Crux presents the emergence of versified love stories in the New Persian language as a crucial event in the history of romance. Using the tale of Vis & Rāmin (w. 1054) as its focal point, the book explores how Persian court poets in the eleventh century reconfigured “myths” and “fables” from the distant past in ways that transformed the love story from a form of evening entertainment to a method of ethical, political, and affective self-inquiry. This transformation both anticipates and helps to explain the efflorescence of romance in many medieval cultures across the western flank of Afro-Eurasia. Bringing together traditions that are often sundered by modern disciplinary boundaries, Love at a Crux unearths the interconnections between New Persian and comparable traditions in ancient and medieval Greek, Arabic, Georgian, Old French, and Middle High German, offering scholars in classics, medieval studies, Middle Eastern literatures, and premodern world literature a case study in literary history as connected history.

Cameron Cross is an Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he teaches classes on Persian literature, Iranian studies, and the culture and history of the Middle East more broadly. His research interests center in the literary traditions of the “Nile to Oxus” region from about 800–1200 CE (200–700 AH), though he also works with classical and late antique texts on one hand and early modern and modern texts on the other. Persian and Arabic are his two main research languages, alongside some French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, German, Greek, Middle Persian, and Georgian, which help him situate Islamicate literary production in a broader comparative context. His recent book, Love at a Crux, explores the emergence of ‘romance’ as a literary genre in New Persian and the idea of ‘romantic love’ as an ethical praxis within this generic tradition, tracing how the interplay of these two branches raises deep existential challenges for the individual subject through the problematization of classic topoi like female chastity, male sovereignty, and sacrifice and redemption in the name of love.


May 17
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT