A Year Amongst the Persians

Edward Granville BROWNE (1862 - 1926)

Edward Granville Browne, born in Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England, was a British orientalist who published numerous articles and books of academic value, mainly in the areas of history and literature. His works are respected for their scholarship, uniqueness, and style. He published in areas which few other Western scholars had explored to any sufficient degree. He used a language and style that showed high respect for everybody, even toward those he personally did not view in positive light. In A Year Amongst the Persians (1893) he wrote a sympathetic portrayal of a Persian society which few Westerners had ever seen, including a frank account of the effects of opium. It did not attract the attention it deserved at the time of its initial publication, but after his death in 1926 it was reprinted and became a classic in English travel literature. A Year Amongst the Persians includes moving accounts of the Bahá’í community in Iran. Concerning his meetings with the Bahá’ís of Iran, Browne writes: “The memory of those assemblies can never fade from my mind; the recollection of those faces and those tones no time can efface. I have gazed with awe on the workings of a mighty Spirit, and I marvel whereunto it tends”.

Edward G. Browne referred to Bahá’ís as Bábís, but this was a mistake on his part. Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad-i-Shírází (1819-1850), known as the “Báb”, which is Arabic for “Gate”, proclaimed that He was the Promised One of Islám. He declared His mission in 1844 and was executed by the Persian government in 1850. His followers were known as Bábís. The Báb also proclaimed that He was the Gate, Herald and Forerunner of an even greater Manifestation of God who would come after Him, the Promised One of all religions and Return of Christ in the Glory of the Father. In 1863, Mírzá Husyan-‘Alí-yi-Núrí (1817-1892), known as Bahá’u’lláh (Arabic for “The Glory of God”), proclaimed that He was the Promised One foretold by the Báb. By the time Browne arrived in Iran, most Bábís had already accepted Bahá’u’lláh as the Promised One and were now known as Bahá’ís. A small group of Bábís, led by Mírzá Yahyá Núrí, known as Azal, who was Bahá’u’lláh’s younger half-brother, rejected these claims. Azal is notorious for poisoning his own Brother (i.e. Bahá’u’lláh) as well as trying to assassinate other enemies on numerous occasions. While the Báb had made Azal His nominal successor, this was only until the Promised One were to appear, upon which time Azal’s authority was supposed to cease. Most Bábís realised Azal’s depravity and turned to Bahá’u’lláh, whose character and spirituality were unsurpassed. Browne was sympathetic to Azal’s claims but was also impressed by the spirituality of the Bahá’í community. The followers of Azal (sometimes spelled Ezel) were known as Azalís.

While Browne’s sympathetic views on Azal were misguided, he made a great contribution to Bahá’í studies through his translations of historical works and his accounts of the Bahá’í community. Amongst Persians, at a time when nearly the whole nation was highly suspicious of foreigners, and in particular of any British or Russian person due to the political dynamics of that time, Edward Browne was well accepted by the people who knew him and his works. He is well remembered today, and a street named after him in Tehran, as well as his statue, remained even after the Iranian revolution in 1979.

(Summary by Nicholas James Bridgewater)

Genre(s): Travel & Geography, Other religions

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 - Exordium (Dedicated to the Persian Reader Only). Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:05:29
Play 01 01 - Chapter I - Introductory - From “El-‘ilmu…” to “…long after I went to Cambridge”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:27:32
Play 02 02 - Chapter I - Introductory - From “One of the incidental charms…” to “…a Fellow of my college”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:23:26
Play 03 03 - Chapter II - From England to the Persian Frontier - From “Fa ma adri…” to “…a room to ourselves”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:45:40
Play 04 04 - Chapter II - From England to the Persian Frontier - From “The eighth day of our march…” to “lies the Persian land”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:44:43
Play 05 05 - Chapter III - From the Persian Frontier to Tabriz - From “Che khush bashad…” to “…which he named”. antinomy
00:25:44
Play 06 06 - Chapter III - From the Persian Frontier to Tabriz - From “We next visited the dispensary…” to “the glorious martyrs of Tabriz”. antinomy
00:26:25
Play 07 07 - Chapter IV - From Tabriz to Teheran - From “We have a horrour for uncouth…” to “…had tasted that night”. hefyd
00:23:39
Play 08 08 - Chapter IV - From Tabriz to Teheran - From “We remained at Zanjan during…” to “…whereby we had entered”. hefyd
00:22:22
Play 09 09 - Chapter V - Teheran - From “There was a most ingenious…” to “…and baboons (shangal).” hefyd
00:22:48
Play 10 10 - Chapter V - Teheran - From “Having spoken of what is without…” to “…and practice of medicine”. hefyd
00:21:09
Play 11 11 - Chapter V - Teheran - From “Having now spoken of the topography…” to “…in a subsequent chapter..” hefyd
00:35:39
Play 12 12 - Chapter V - Teheran - From “I must now return to my life…” to “…administer corporal punishment.” hefyd
00:23:14
Play 13 13 - Chapter VI - Mysticism, Metaphysic, and Magic - From “Guftagu-yi kufr…” to “…in those of Mulla Sadra”. hefyd
00:38:14
Play 14 14 - Chapter VI - Mysticism, Metaphysic, and Magic - From “I trust that I have succeeded…” to “…set forth in another chapter”. hefyd
00:47:43
Play 15 15 - Chapter VII - From Teheran to Isfahan - From “CHR.—‘But what…” to “…and their owner alike”. hefyd
00:36:53
Play 16 16 - Chapter VII - From Teheran to Isfahan - From “The next day brought us to Kum…” to “…better than a foolish friend”. hefyd
00:44:16
Play 17 17 - Chapter VII - From Teheran to Isfahan - From “And now, just…” to “…impression produced on me by Isfahan”. hefyd
00:42:35
Play 18 18 - Chapter VIII - Isfahan - From “Safahan ma’ni…” to “…May God be your keeper!” Naseem
00:40:19
Play 19 19 - Chapter VIII - Isfahan - From “Saturday came at last…” to “…but is not dead”. Naseem
00:32:18
Play 20 20 - Chapter IX - From Isfahan to Shiraz - From “Wa jala’s-suyulu…” to “…are said still to be visible”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:38:01
Play 21 21 - Chapter IX - From Isfahan to Shiraz - From “Next day a short march…” to “…examine its interior”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:50:29
Play 22 22 - Chapter IX - From Isfahan to Shiraz - From “As the gathering dusk…” to “…unrivalled and unsurpassed”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:36:58
Play 23 23 - Chapter X - Shiraz - From “Dil mi-barand…” to “…This is Masjid-Bardi” Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:50:58
Play 24 24 - Chapter X - Shiraz - From “Amongst the gardens…” to “…behind the veil of the future”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:58:54
Play 25 25 - Chapter XI - Shiraz (continued) - From “Shiraz pur kawgha…” to “…the King under every disguise”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:49:42
Play 26 26 - Chapter XI - Shiraz (continued) - From “As it was growing late…” to “…to take cognisance of them”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:50:35
Play 27 27 - Chapter XI - Shiraz (continued) - From “ A few days after this…” to “…which I so ardently desired to perform”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:28:07
Play 28 28 - Chapter XII - From Shiraz to Yezd - From “Mara dar manzil-i-Janan…” to “…in the plain of Abarkuh”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:40:26
Play 29 29 - Chapter XII - From Shiraz to Yezd - From “I was now left for a while…” to “…the circumstances admitted of”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:32:28
Play 30 30 - Chapter XIII - Yezd - From “Ey saba!...” to “…instead of my adversary”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:51:44
Play 31 31 - Chapter XIII - Yezd - From “On another occasion…” to “...form the substance of another”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:42:38
Play 32 32 - Chapter XIV - Yezd (continued) - From “Chand, chand az…” to “…A baby Babi!” Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:37:54
Play 33 33 - Chapter XIV - Yezd (continued) - From “On the following occasion…” to “…into the desert and the darkness”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:38:35
Play 34 34 - Chapter XV - From Yezd to Kirman - From “Raftam u burdam…” to “…till the following evening”. Naseem
00:29:10
Play 35 35 - Chapter XV - From Yezd to Kirman - From “I did not go out next day til…” to “…has skimmed its surface”. Naseem
00:20:49
Play 36 36 - Chapter XVI - Kirman Society - From “Har chand ki az…” to “…the cunning Na’ib Hasan”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:51:48
Play 37 37 - Chapter XVI - Kirman Society - From “Friday, 14th June…” to “…his legal due to two krans”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:41:53
Play 38 38 - Chapter XVI - Kirman Society - From “Monday, 17th June…” to “…in his natural temperament”. Naseem
00:19:36
Play 39 39 - Chapter XVI - Kirman Society - From “Wednesday, 19th June…” to “…let me open a new chapter”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:45:08
Play 40 40 - Chapter XVII - Amongst the Kalandars - From “How sweet it were…” to “…by the hand as a brother”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:43:09
Play 41 41 - Chapter XVII - Amongst the Kalandars - From “Thursday, 11th July…” to “…would certainly take it from him”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:35:07
Play 42 42 - Chapter XVII - Amongst the Kalandars - From “I had lunch when Seyyid…” to “…place at his disposal”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:53:28
Play 43 43 - Chapter XVII - Amongst the Kalandars - From “Thursday, 25th July…” to “…Persian life of the last three months”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:43:07
Play 44 44 - Chapter XVIII - From Kirman to England - From “Yukuluna…” to “…Price 70 krans”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:53:26
Play 45 45 - Chapter XVIII - From Kirman to England - From “On returning to the hotel…” to “…to be the coming nation”. Nicholas James Bridgewater
00:45:10
Play 46 46 - Chapter XVIII - From Kirman to England - From “Friday, 5th October…” to “…in idle quest and vain”. Naseem
00:29:14