Franklin D. Lewis, a distinguished scholar of Persian literature at the University of Chicago for nearly 20 years, passed away on Sept. 19 in Chicago after a long illness. He was 61 years old.
Throughout his prolific career, Lewis published multiple books and articles. According to his colleagues, his masterpiece was Rumi: Past and Present, East and West, The Life Teachings of Jalāl al-Din Rumi (2008), which reassesses all previous research on the life of Persian’s foremost Sufi poet and navigates the complex history of the poet’s later reception worldwide.
“The book will serve as a touchstone for any future research on Rumi and has been translated into Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Danish,” said Paul Losensky, professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. “Frank’s work, however, went beyond the mystical poets. His articles and chapters contribute to collected volumes and offer insights into other major figures in the classical tradition such as Ferdowski, Sa’di, and Hāfez.”