Cover image for Rumi : a spiritual biography
Rumi : a spiritual biography
Wines, Leslie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : The Crossroad Pub., 2000.
Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BP189.7.M42 W56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Unraveling the story of the great Sufi mystic, Al-Barazi relates Rumi's life in the context of the social, political, and moral background of his era.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Seven centuries after his death, Jalal al-Din Rumi is enjoying a heck of a comeback. The poet laureate of Sufism, Rumi's innovations proved so fundamental that his style and language continue to be imitated throughout the Islamic world. And he has been cited as a great mystic by no less an authority than Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Far beyond what the quotable snippets of his poetry in self-help tomes and love anthologies indicate, he was a magnificent poet, acclaimed by kings and vagabonds alike in his lifetime. Although there is little new insight in Wines' Spiritual Biography, and it lacks the depth of Annemarie Schimmel's 1992 effort, her vivid, well-researched portrait of the poet is the first life of Rumi in English that is intended for the general readership Rumi cared most to have. In particular, she breathes life into one of the great Platonic love stories of all time, that of Rumi and his muse Shams, an old and dirty dervish. The poetry that sprang from that relationship receives a much-needed new English translation in The Illustrated Rumi, in which parables and stories and bits of poems share the pages with breathtaking Islamic art from throughout the world, especially that of artists who responded to Rumi's mystical poetry with esoteric paintings and drawings. The choices made for the translation are sometimes problematic, especially when only selections from poems are rendered. Also, the parables and poems may confound twenty-first-century Americans who lack the knowledge of Rumi's cultural context that the translators fail to provide. Yet the quality of these versions is often higher than that of Coleman Barks' popular Englishings, and the beautiful art drenches readers in the world of mystical Islamic devotion that Rumi sought and shared. --John Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich in the Christian world, Jalaluddin Rumi was both poet and mystic, and is counted among the greatest Islamic artists in both arenas. His poetry, translated from medieval Persian, has become extremely popular in the United States, and Sufism, the mystical practice that he helped establish, has found a new home among American converts to Islam. Wines's short biography of the great religious poet is straightforward and easily comprehensible, showing clearly her own background in journalism. The bare outlines of Rumi's lifeÄhis family's flight from Afghanistan to modern Turkey during the Mongol invasions in the 13th century, his early educational achievements, and the meeting with the eccentric Shams al-Din al-Tabriz that catapulted him into love and mysticismÄare presented here with a sprinkling of the poetry for which Rumi is famous. Wines's book offers no new or startling knowledge about Rumi, as she has relied on secondary sources by well-known scholars for her information; therefore it is not particularly interesting to anyone who already knows the general facts of his life. For those who have come to Rumi through his poetry and are only secondarily discovering the man, however, her accessible biography, with its list of further recommended reading, is a fine resource. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book is one of many now appearing to meet the growing interest in Sufism and the Islamic poet Jalalu'ddin Rumi. Journalist Wines (UPI, Glamour magazine) takes the reader through Rumi's itinerant childhood and his wanderings throughout the Middle East before settling in Konya (in modern Turkey), where he encountered the legendary dervish Shams. Assuming a significant amount of fact behind the legend, the author explains the evolving pupil/mentor relationship between Rumi and Shams, whose preoccupation with one another led to the exclusion and fury of Rumi's own disciples. Shams transformed Rumi from "a great intellectual into a great mystic," yet his sudden departure from Konya, the uncertainty surrounding his murder, and the spiritual impact he had on Rumi led to a soul-searching that culminated in the Mathnawi, the sacred text for which the poet is renowned. Wines has written an adequate account of Rumi's relationship to the controversial nature of Sufism in medieval Islamic society as well as to the poet's own contemporaries. Recommended for Sufi collections and for public libraries catering to an increased demand for material on this subject.DLoren Rosson III, Nashua P.L., NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.