French romanticism and persian liberalism in nineteenth-century Iran: Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani and Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre

History of Political Thought 28 (3):542-556 (2007)

Intellectual encounters between Europe and the Middle East have a long and rich history. During the last two centuries these encounters have accelerated, creating valuable opportunities to study the evolution of political concepts and dissemination of political ideas. This article examines one example of such encounters, showing how a liberal Persian intellectual of the late nineteenth century has borrowed and manipulated concepts from a French Romanticist of the late seventeenth century. Guided by theoretical insights from Quentin Skinner and Fred Dallmayr, this article demonstrates the importance of context to the development of political thought, and refutes the conventional suggestion that Middle Eastern liberals have been the passive recipients of Western ideas
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