Mem and Zin is

a Kurdish classic love story written down in 1692


is based on a true story, laid down from generation to generation through oral tradition.

It appears to be often compared to Romeo and Juliet (1597). I first saw a reference in an English translation's Preface

But the poetical story is more than a tragic Romeo and Juliet

A search to see if this was a common reference ("mem and zin kurdish romeo and juliet") brought up quite a few results referring to it with variations "Kurdish 'Romeo and Juliet'". (Admittedly I probably biased this search a bit by putting "kurdish romeo and juliet" in the search string, but the point is still made)

Romeo and Juliet was first performed before Mem and Zin was written down, but as Mem and Zin originated as an oral tradition it came first. I'm interested to know when the two started being compared to each other. The similarities in the stories are evident on a broad review of the plotlines of both, so it seems a fairly obvious comparison to draw. However any comparison would rely on someone knowing both stories and then wanting to point the connections out.

When/where was "Mem and Zin" first compared to "Romeo and Juliet"?

  • What kind of evidence would suffice for the claim that a particular instance was in fact the first to make this comparison? As you say, it's "a fairly obvious comparison to draw," so anybody familiar with both stories could have made it, independently of anybody else's having done so previously.
    – verbose
    Apr 9, 2021 at 22:01
  • I thought in line with other "When was the first instance of X?" this could be answered by "here is a very old reference to X, and as far as I can find by looking here and here there is no earlier reference" (maybe even with that last part removed, though it makes for a better answer)
    – bobble
    Apr 9, 2021 at 22:04


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