Ehsan Yarshater (Persian: احسان يارشاطر, born April 3, 1920, Hamadan, Iran) is the director of The Center for Iranian Studies and Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Columbia University.
He is famous for editing the monumental Encyclopædia Iranica along with 40 other editors and 300 authors from various academic institutions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is also famous for editing the third volume of the Cambridge History of Iran, comprising the history of the Seleucid, the Parthians, and the Sassanians, as well as a volume entitled Persian Literature. As of 2007[update], he is also editing a sixteen-volume series named History of Persian Literature. He has won several International awards for scholarship, including a UNESCO award in 1959. The Yarshater lectureship is considered by some to be the most prestigious honor in the field of Iranian Studies.
Ehsan Yarshater studied Persian language and literature at the University of Tehran and Iran philology (Old and Middle Iranian) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London with Walter Bruno Henning. His Tehran University dissertation dealt with Persian poetry under the Timurid Shahrukh (15th century). His University of London dissertation, elaborated and published later as A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects (Mouton, 1969), describes a series of Tati dialects spoken in the southwest of Qazvin.
Although born into a Baha’i family, he has had no affiliation with the religion as an adult, and has said that he himself is not a Baha’i.
- Theorems and Remarks* (al-Isharat wa’l-tanbihat) by Avicenna, tr. into Persian in the 13th century; annotated edition. Tehran, National Monuments Society, 1953.
- Five Treaties in Arabic and Persian (Panj Resala) by Ibn Sina, annotated edition. Tehran, National Monuments Society, 1953.
- Persian Poetry under Shah Rokh: The Second Half of the 15th Century (Sher-e parsi dar ‘ahd-e Shahrokh). Tehran, the Tehran University Press, 1955.
- Legends of the Epic of Kings (Dastanha-ye Shahnama). Tehran: Iran-American Joint Fund Publications, 1957, 1958, 1964; 2nd ed. 1974, 1982 (awarded a UNESCO prize in 1959).
- Old Iranian Myths and Legends (Dastanha-ye Iran-e bastan). Tehran: Iran-American Joint Fund Publications, 1957, 1958, 1964 (Royal Award for the best book of the year, 1959).
- With W.B. Henning (eds.). A Locust’s Leg: Studies in Honour of S.H. Taqizadeh. London, 1962.
- Modern Painting (Naqqashi-e novin). 2 vols. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1965–66; 2nd printing, 1975.
- A Grammar of Southern Tati Dialects, Median Dialect Studies I. The Hague and Paris, Mouton and Co., 1969.
- Iran Faces the Seventies (ed.). New York, Praeger Publishers, 1971.
- With D. Bishop (eds.). Biruni Symposium. New York, Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, 1976.
- Selected Stories from the Shahnama (Bargozida-ye dastanha-ye Shahnama), Vol. I. Tehran, BTNK, 1974; reprint, Washington, D.C., Iranian Cultural Foundation, 1982.
- With David Bivar (eds.). Inscriptions of Eastern Mazandaran, Corpus Inscriptionem Iranicarum. London, Lund and Humphries, 1978.
- With Richard Ettinghausen (eds.). Highlights of Persian Art. New York, Bibliotheca Persica, 1982.
- Sadeq Hedayat: An Anthology (ed.). New York, Bibliotheca Persica, 1979.
- Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. III: Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian Periods (ed.). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
- Persian Literature (ed.). New York, State University of New York Press, 1988.