‘She Can’t Be Kept Locked Up’: The Forgotten Women of Medieval Persian
Paper by Dick Davis
Given at the University of Chicago on October 25, 2018
The title of my talk today refers to a poem ascribed to the 12th century poet Mahsati, who is one of the few modern pre-modern women poets whose name has not in fact been forgotten and here is the poem from which I’ve taken my title in translation:
An old man says we must remain here we can’t be kept locked up.
In this sad chamber racked with pain here we can’t be kept locked up.
That woman whose tempestuous hair is like a wild beasts mane.
Stuck in the house held by a chain here we can’t be kept locked up.