A Linguistic Conversion
Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥasan Qatīl and the Varieties of Persian (ca. 1790)
The paper deals with Mīrzā Muḥammad Ḥasan Qatīl, an important Persian-writing Khatri poet and intellectual active in Lucknow between the end of the 18th and the first two decades of the 19th century, focusing on his ideas regarding the linguistic geography of Persian. Qatīl dealt with the geographical varieties of Persian mainly in two texts, namely the Shajarat al-amānī and the Nahr al-faṣāḥat, but relevant observations are scattered in almost all of his works, including the doxographic Haft tamāshā. The analysis provided here, which is also the first systematic study on a particularly meaningful part of Qatīl’s socio-linguistic thought and one of the very few explorations of Qatīl’s work altogether, not only examines in detail his grammatical and rhetorical treatises, reading them on the vast background of Arabic-Persian philology, but discusses as well the interaction of Qatīl’s early conversion to Shi‘ite Islam with the author’s linguistic ideas, in a philological-historical perspective.