Little is known about the life of the Persian writer Muslih al-Din, better known as Sa’di. Some scholars, who have tried to piece together a biography based on his stories and poems, claim he was married twice, that one of his wives made him miserable, and that he lost an only son. Other scholars have warned against such assumptions. The only information that can be given with confidence is that Sa’di lived most if not all his life in the thirteenth century, that he hailed from Shiraz, and that he was familiar with Sufi practices. It is also known that his two most famous works, Bustan (The Orchard) and Gulistan (The Rose Garden) were written in 1257 and 1258, respectively, and that the characteristics that have made the latter the most famous single work in Persian literature are the author’s wit, wisdom, and humanity.
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On Love and Youth: Three Translations of Sa'di
Many of the stories in On Love and Youth, the fifth chapter of Sa'di's Gulistan, involve love affairs between men and youths: masters with slaves, princes with youthful subjects, teachers with schoolboys, and other variations. In most cases, the context of the relationship suggests that the youth is an adolescent or young man.
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