ii(b). THE NOVEL
Literary history does not usually follow the smooth path of an evolutionary process. Some writers limit themselves to period pieces, and others write books whose latent significance becomes apparent decades later. Both creative development and the longevity of some authors, as in the case of Moḥammad-ʿAlī Jamālzada (1895-1997) and Bozorg ʿAlawī (1907-1997), make categorization and periodization difficult. Nonetheless, the long period from the end of the 19th century to the last decade of the 20th century may be divided into three generations of writers—a framework which has been adopted here in order to clarify the patterns of change in themes and techniques of narration that have shaped the history of the Persian novel to the present time.
THE PIONEERS (1895-1941)
In the previous section, reference has already been made to some early experiments in fiction in Persia, notably in the genre of fictitious travelogues. Among the factors of crucial importance for the development of the novel were newspapers and the legacy of the early translations from European, mostly French, literature.
Many eminent literary figures of the time, including ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (q.v.; 1880-1956), M oḥammad-Taqī Bahār (q.v.; 1886-1951), Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī (q.v.; 1877-1942), Moḥammad Qazvīnī (1877-1949), ʿAbbās Eqbāl Āštīānī (q.v.; 1896/97-1956), and Saʿīd Nafīsī (1895-1976) were either themselves journalists and editors or contributed influential articles to current journals. Although, with the notable exception of Dehḵodā and Nafīsī, they were not directly involved with fiction, they were instrumental in the development of Persian prose, illustrating through their work the fact that familiarity with other cultures and languages need not result in abstruse styles and dependence on foreign loan-words. One might say that Dehḵodā’s Čarand parand (q.v.), to a certain extent, “owed its success to the fact that it was intelligible to ordinary folk and at the same time entertaining to the intellectual elite and sophisticated men of letters” (Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, p. 218).
The translations from European novels like Le Comte de Monte Cristo (tr. 1892) and Les trois mousquetaires (tr. 1899)by Alexandre Dumas père, and Mīrzā Ḥabīb Eṣfahānī’s (q.v.; d. 1315/1897) translation, or rather adaptation from the French (published posthumously in 1905), of James Morier’s The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan were significant for two reasons. First, their descriptive techniques were sometimes emulated by Persian novelists, as a comparison between two passages in Les trois mousquetaires and ʿEšq o salṭanat (see below) demonstrates (Sepānlū, 1993, pp. 27-28). In the case of The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan, the satirical portrait of the age was part and parcel of the narrative fiction of the turn of the century, and the first two decades of the twentieth, a period that could aptly be called the golden age of satire in poetical invectives, political ballads, and fictional and journalistic prose. Secondly, the very popularity of these imported novels indicated the emergence of a new reading public, mainly urban and middle class, with new tastes and preferences, and with time to allot to reading in the privacy of their homes (Gheissari, 1998, p. 51; Kamshad, 1966, pp. 21-29; Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā I, p. 26).
The historical novel. The first genre of fictional prose to attract a significant readership in this period was the historical novel (Yūsofī, pp. 185-233). Moḥammad-Bāqer Mīrzā Ḵosravī (1850-1919), a minor Qajar prince of somewhat reduced circumstances, was the author of a trilogy: Šams o Ṭoḡrā, Mārī-e venīsī (The Venetian Marie), and Ṭoḡrol o Homāy, all three published in Kermānšāh in 1910. These three inter-linked historical love stories, sharing their eponymous characters, were set in the thirteenth century during the Mongol invasion of Persia, and were influenced by both French novels of adventure and by themes from classical Persian narrative poetry, particularly by Neẓāmī’s Ḵosrow o Šīrīn. The trilogy exemplifies many of the common traits of the historical novels of the period. The author attempts to entertain the reader by swashbuckling episodes reminiscent of Les trois mousquetaires without neglecting his pedagogical mission. Acting as a well-informed cicerone, he takes his readers on a guided-tour of ancient sites and places and introduces them to famous figures from the past, including the poet Saʿdī who plays an important role in the plot, and officiates at the (temporary) marriage of the hero and the heroine (Machalski, 1956, pp. 149-63; Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, p. 240-45).
Shaikh Mūsā Naṯrī (b. 1882, d. ?), the director of Noṣrat school in Hamadān, was another provincial writer of historical novels. ʿEšq o salṭanat yā fotūḥāt-e Kūroš-e kabīr (Love and kingship, or the victories of Cyrus the Great) was the first part of his historical trilogy published in Hamadān in l919, with a benefaction from the local magnate, Amīr Neẓām Qaragozlū, and later reprinted in Bombay (Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, p. 252; Kamshad, p. 45). It claimed to be “the first novel (roman) composed in Persia in theWesternfashion” (Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia IV, p. 464) and based its plot directly on sections from Herodotus, French publications on the Achaemenids, the Avesta, and Les trois mousquetaires (Sepānlū, 1992, p. 27). The same historical era was the period chosen by Ḥasan Badīʿ Noṣrat-al-Wozarāʾ (1872-1937) for his Dāstān-e bāstān yā sargoḏašt-e Kūroš (An ancient story, or the life of Cyrus, 1920). His plot focuses on the episode of Bīžan o Manīža (see BĪŽAN) from the Šāh-nāma. His attempt to make this plot historically plausible by also incorporating and citing Herodotus and European scholarship was not altogether successful (Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, pp. 254-55; Kamshad, p. 46). ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Sanʿatīzāda (1895-1973) was a prolific writer in many genres, including science-fiction, who began his long literary career as a historical novelist. His Dāmgostarān yā enteqāmḵᵛāhān-e Mazdak (The ensnarers, or the avengers of Mazdak) was published in two parts, the first in Bombay, 1339/1921-22 and the second in 1344/1925-26 in Tehran (Browne, Lit. Hist. Persia IV, p. 466; Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, pp. 255-58; Kamshad, 1966, pp. 47-50), although the date of composition and the contribution of others to the contents of the first volume remain a matter of debate (Ādamīyat, 1967, pp. 55-56). Mention should also be made of Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Moʾtamen (b. 1914), whose Āšīāna-ye ʿoqāb (The eagle’s nest, 1939) was a popular historical novel of the late Reżā Shah era. The book in ten volumes evolves around an adventurous love story in which historical figures such as Ḵᵛāja Ne ẓām-al-Molk and Ḥasan-e Ṣabbaḥ appear as key characters. Ḥosayn Masrūr (1888-1968) is yet another historical novelist of the period, whose most significant story, Dah nafar qezelbāš (The ten kizilbash), first appeared in installments from 1948 onwards in the newspaper Eṭṭelāʿāt (q.v.), andit was later published as a book in five volumes (1956).
Other writers of historical novels include Ḏabīḥ Behrūz (q.v., 1889-1971), author of Šāh-e Īrān o bānū-ye arman (The Persian king and the Armenian lady, 1927), who was famous for his satirical and facetious works and for his eccentric views on language and history; and Ḥosayn Roknzāda Ādamīyat (1899-1973), editor of the weekly paper Ādamīyat (q.v.), whose Delīrān-e Tangestānī (The heroes of Tangestān, 1931) was one of the few early novels directly concerned with contemporary history (Kamshad, 1966, pp. 41-51; Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā II, pp. 238-58).
On the whole, these books convey a curious blend of nostalgia and factual information about the past glories of Persia, gleaned from historical chronicles and the scholarly research of contemporary Orientalists. Their naive attempt to achieve historical credibility, often ending instead in anachronisms, imbues them with the charm of primitive paintings. Some modern critics however, dismiss their authors as provincial die-hards and escapist dreamers, untouched by the realities of the day (ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, I, pp. 28-33). Their romantic nationalism, expressed in the glorification of pre-Islamic Persia and denunciation of the Arab invasion, was in conformity with cultural currents which ultimately became not only part of the official Pahlavi state propaganda, but also surfaced later in the works of writers seldom associated with conservatism, such as Hedāyat and ʿAlawī (Meskūb, pp. 25-31).
The Social Novel. Although the advent of the Pahlavi era introduced a new and systematically vigilant form of state censorship which discouraged accurate depiction of contemporary historical episodes and personages in fiction, the dynamic drive for social protest survived and was channeled into other fields. Novels primarily describing social conditions, influenced by the literary naturalism of European novelists like Emile Zola, appeared in quick succession, with woman and city as their two major themes (Meskūb, p. 90). The betrayed ideologies of the Constitutional movement (Ājūdānī, 1997, p. 49; Karimi-Hakkak, 1995; ʿEbādīān, pp. 75-98), were well represented in the versified drama Īdeʾāl-e pīr-mard-e dehqān (The old peasant’s ideal wish, 1924) by Mīrzāda ʿEšqī (q.v.; 1894-l924) and generated a recurrent theme in the fiction of this period: a juxtaposition of the city and the village, the innocent peasant girl and her promiscuous urban counterpart. It marked the genesis of a problematic process by which the Persian woman of literature left the realm of fantasy to enter the real world. Although she now appeared in a seemingly more realistic manner, she was still, in the hands of her male creators, essentially a stereotyped victim of the sinister forces of modernity. In this period, “deep-rooted political, social, and religious traditions were either being obliterated or else sustained the shock of impact with modern Western institutions and theories” (Kamshad, 1966, pp. 83-84); and in the novels, this uneasy coexistence produced diametrically opposed protagonists, conversing across an unbridgeable hiatus, unable to meet (Meskūb, p. 170). Moreover, in spite of their propensity for long maudlin ruminations and “pious social postures” (Yarshater, 1988, p. 34) many of the novelists described below were in the business of increasing the circulation numbers of the journals in which their novels first appeared as installments by titillating the public with their coy eroticism.
The dark satanic city, the quintessential metaphor for the inexorable forces of modernity, lurks in the very title of Mortażā Mošfeq Kāẓemī’s (1902-77) Tehrān-e maḵūf (The horrible Tehran), a somewhat rambling depiction of love, greed, and prostitution, which appeared in two volumes in 1922. Itwas succeeded by a series of works by ʿAbbās Ḵalīlī (1891-1971), such as Rūzgār-e sīāh (Black days, 1924) and Enteqām (Revenge, 1925), both describing the plight of women. Other popular titles of the time were Šahrnāz (1926), by Sayyed Yaḥyā Dawlatābādī (q.v.; 1863-1939), better known for his memoirs of the Constitutional and post-Constitutional periods, and Man ham gerya karda-am (I, too, have wept, 1934), by Jahāngīr Jalīlī (1909-39). But perhaps the most significant and no doubt the most outspoken writer of the genre was the journalist Moḥammad Masʿūd (1905-47) whose Tafrīḥāt-e šab (Nocturnal pleasures, 1933), Dar talāš-e maʿāš (Struggling to earn a living, 1933), Ašraf-e maḵlūqāt (The noblest of creatures, 1934), and Golhā-ī ke dar jahannam mīrūyand (Flowers that sprout in hell, 1943), with their atmospheric griminess, “made a stir by openly exposing the frustrations of the educated classes and urban civil servants with a mixture of humor and tragedy” (Yarshater, 1988, p. 34). His outcries of pain and entertaining humor couched in a colorful colloquialism are reminiscent of Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues, which was translated into Persian in 1930 and whose style seems to have influenced Masʿūd (Ḵānlarī, p. 153). Some of the above novelists had turbulent lives: Masʿūd was assassinated and Jalīlī committed suicide. They have left behind a mixed critical reception. Some modern critics (ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, I, pp. 44-45) regard their work as an improvement on the regressive romanticism of the writers of the historical novels but complain of the mixture of nihilism and sentimentality in their depiction of fallen women and feckless young men. Some others, however, highlight the despotic nature of Reżā Shah’s regime as the main contributing factor to the decline of Persian prose literature in this period (Kamshad, 1966, p. 63).
The novels of both Moḥammed Ḥejāzī (q.v.; 1900-1973) and ʿAlī Daštī (q.v.; 1896-1981), who either throughout or during a substantial part of their lives were part of the ruling establishment, evolve around the character of their eponymous heroines with alluring names, some of which had by then become popular among the more secular urban middle classes of the time, like Homā (1927), Parīčehr (1929), and Zībā (1931) by the former, and Fetna (1949), Jādū (l952), and Hendū (1955) by the latter. Although different in many ways, the two writers were similar in their descriptions of love and ambition among the middle and upper middle classes and both satisfied the needs of an audience which a few decades later would turn to television dramas (Kamshad, 1966, pp. 69-84).
In Zībā,generally regarded as his best novel, Ḥejāzī succeeds in invoking the atmosphere of a whole decade in a complex but well-structured plot and exposes the prevalent moral corruption—the underlying cause for which he did not attribute to the ruling regime of the time—without exaggerated recourse to hectoring and preaching. Ḥejāzī’s prose is characterized by a smooth, mellifluous quality based on his apt choice of words tempered with echoes of classical lyric poets, Saʿdī and Ḥāfeẓ in particular. During Reżā Shah’s reign, Ḥejāzī was easily the most popular Persian writer, especially attractive to young people whose romantic impulses drew them to Ḥejāzī’s stories and descriptions. The rapturous praise of Ḥejāzī’s style and sentiments by Moḥammad-Taqī Bahār, the major poet of Persia since the bāzgašt-e adabī (q.v.), reflects the appreciation accorded him before Persian intellectuals became polarized by the spread of communism among them and the advent of the Tudeh party. Ḥejāzī, a politically conservative anti-Communist and Soviet-hater, was severely criticized (or ignored) by the leftist intellectuals, who called his work childish, sickly sweet, fit only for teenagers, and vacuous, a judgment that is not substantiated by either his popularity or his corpus.
Daštī’s turbulent life and idiosyncratic works and translations, including a number of popular monographs on literary criticism, epitomize the inherent contradictions in modern Persian culture. His translation of Samuel Smiles’ Self Help, the embodiment of so-called Victorian values and virtues, attracted a wide readership (Knörzer, p. 108), while his sardonic novellas with their galaxy of social-climbers with shady pasts, femmes fatales, and their duped and doomed idealistic victims, also enjoyed a wide circulation. The urge to instruct, an undercurrent in most Persian novels described so far, is also present here. But instead of factual details about the glories of pre-Islamic Persia as in the historical novels mentioned before, the reader is told how to set the table in an elegant modern way without appearing vulgar and nouveau riche (see Jādū, 4th printing, 1975, pp. 120-21). Daštī’s style is immediately recognizable by his original choice of vocabulary, which draws when necessary from both Arabic and French terms, a result of his early training in religious sciences and his later familiarity with French. The urbanity of his style and motifs reflects to a certain extent his own inclination or predilection for the good life—good food, good reading, deep interest in the humanities; what might be characterized as the qualities of abon vivante, an aspect of his life quite separate from his politics.
Newspapers and magazines continued to publish serialized romance and adventure-laden novels. Among the most prolific authors in this genre was Ḥosaynqoli Mostaʿān (1904-83), whose literary fame rested solely upon his sentimental, gushing, and adventure-laden love stories serialized in the press and enjoyed in particular by teenagers. He translated many stories and penned many more. His translation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1928-31) brought him immediate recognition and had a great impact on the style of writing of his contemporaries. Āfat, arguably his most popular serialized story, appeared in over three hundred instalments (1951-56) in Tehrān-e moṣawwar, a popular weekly magazine. It is set in the World War I years in Tehran and revolves around the life, crimes, and love affairs of a Western educated Persian general. Jawād Fāżel (1915-61) published most of his over-sentimental love stories in Eṭṭelāʿāt-e haftagī. The titles of his stories, such as ʿEšq o ašk (Love and tears, 1948), Man to-rā dūst dāram (I love you, 1962), and Ba yād-e man bāš (Remember me, 1963) hint at their mawkish contents. The noted journalist and writer Ṣadr-al-Dīn Elāhī also wrote several serialized novels during this period and under different names in Tehrān-e moṣawwar (on this topic, see Ṣ. Elāhī, “Darāmadī bar maqūla pārvaraqīnevīsī dar Īrān,” Īrān-šenāsī 10/4, forth coming). Serialized stories were published in a more or less continuous stream into the next years by many authors such as Majīd Davāmī and Manūčehr Moṭīʿī. After a brief interruption following the Revolution of 1978-79, such writing resumed with intensity and culminated in the works of many female writers (see iv. below).
Moḥammad-ʿAlī Jamālzāda, noted mainly for his short stories (see below), published his first novel Dār al-majānīn (The lunatic asylum) in 1942. It is an intricate account of a set of characters detained in an asylum. They are not depicted as social types emblematic of different and contradictory forces in the Persian society of the time, as was the case in the author’s earlier stories in Yak-ī būd yak-ī nabūd (see below iii.), but complex individuals hovering in the shifting sands between sanity and madness (Katouzian, 1998, pp. 49-68; Farzāna, pp. 38-46). His second novel, Qoltāšan dīvān (1946), on the primordial battle between good and evil, was followed by the publication of Rāhāb-nāma (The story of the aqueduct, 1948) and Sar o tah-e yak karbās yā Eṣfahān-nāma (1955; tr. W. L. Heston as Isfahan is Half the World: Memories of a Persian Boyhood, Princeton, l983), a bildungsroman in two volumes. Critics (Kāmšād, 1998, p. 112; Barāhenī, 1969, p. 561) often make a distinction between the early works of Jamālzāda, which they praise for their novelty and clarity, and his later works, which they consider as overtly didactic and out of touch with the Persian society they endeavor to describe from a comfortable distance, but this view has recently been challenged by at least one critic (Katouzian, 1998, p. 50).
The early social novel, with its preoccupation with sensationalist plots and its lack of interest in stylistic innovations, was discarded by a new generation of writers who had begun to experiment with new techniques in the years before the advent of the Second World War. Ṣādeq Hedāyat, acclaimed for both his short stories and novellas, was to have a lasting impact on the course of Persian fiction in this century. His writings cover many genres. Besides his short stories and articles on literature, his book on ʿOmar Ḵayyām, folklore, and translations from French (Golbon, pp. 19-53), he wrote five long stories: ʿAlawīya Ḵānom (q.v.; 1933, tr. Ch. Reyhani into French as Mme Alavieh, Paris, 1997); Būf-e kūr (q.v.; 1937; tr. D. P. Costello as The Blind Owl, London, 1957; tr. R. Lescot into French as La chouette aveugle, Paris, 1953); Āb-e zendagī (The water of life, 1944; tr. M. E. and F. Farzāna as L’eau de jouvence, Paris, 1996), Ḥājī Āqā (1945, tr. G. M. Wickens as Hāji Āghā: Portrait of an Iranian Confidence Man, Austin, Tex., 1979; tr. into French by G. Lazard as HâdjiAghâ, Paris, 1996), and Fardā (1946; tr. L. Ray as “Tomorrow,” New Left Review 24, 1964, pp. 91-99), as well as several satirical sketches. Widely differing in their representations of life and humanity, taken together they offer a kaleidoscopic view of the 1930s and 1940s. In Ḥājī Āqā, a satirical depiction of an avaricious, hypocritical, corrupt, and reactionary businessman of the bazaar, for example, the unresolved discord between corrupt tradition and crude modernity finds an ideal home at his house. The Haji himself embodies all the contradictions of the society at large, becoming the microcosmic symbol of its disparities (Manāfzāda, p. 57).
The same ubiquitous discordance is also heard in the fugue-like composition of Hedāyat’s short novel Būf-e kūr (q.v.), whose narrative techniques resist prescriptive judgments and classifications. In its structure, Būf-e kūr falls into two parts. It is narrated in the first person-singular by a traditional artist obsessively engaged in painting the slim figure of an ethereal woman, whose haunting image he paints on pen-boxes. In the second part she is transformed into the woman he marries, and whom he ultimately murders. Throughout the novel, scenes and events reflect and echo each other, time does not follow a linear progression and dream and reality remain intertwined. The very ambivalence of the novel gives it a haunting effect that remains with the reader long afterwards. It has been translated into many languages and has generated a considerable amount of literary criticism. It was praised highly by the founder of the surrealist movement André Breton (in “Des Capucines violettes,” Médium 8, June 1953). As perhaps the most seminal work of fiction in Persian it has been both the subject of several illuminating attempts at “close reading” and explication de texte by Persian and western critics (Yarshater, 1971; idem, 1979; Hillmann, 1978; Farzāna; Beard, 1990; Ā. Nafīsī, 1992; Šamīsā; Katouzian, 1994; Yavari, 1995b; Sattārī), as well as the victim of some hasty generalizations. While drawing on sources and resonances of world literature, Būf-e kūr remains strikingly Persian (Beard, 1990, pp. 1-42; Hillmann, 1988, p. 296; Yarshater, 1988, p. 332; Sepānlū, 1989, p. 27). Its influence on Persian fiction can be felt in the writings of later generations of experimental writers like Hūšang Golšīrī, Taqī Modarresī, and Bahrām Ṣādeqī.
Bozorg ʿAlawī (1907-97) was influenced, like Hedāyat, by modern psychological theories and narrative techniques. His collections of prison stories, Waraq pārahā-yezendān (1941; tr. in Raffat, pp. 115-96) and Nāmahā (The letters, 1952), as well as his account of his own arrest and life in prison, Panjāh o se nafar (The fifty-three, 1942), distinguish him as the first Persian writer to describe prison life in an objectively realistic manner, thus making a new departure from the classical genre of prison literature (ḥabsīyāt). His influence can be detected on later writings of the same genre (Raffat, pp. 2-11). Unlike other influential contemporary writers who have a range of literary works, ʿAlawī’s fame rests on only a few compositions. His acclaimed novel, Čašmhāyaš (1952, tr. J. O’Kane as Her Eyes, Lanham, Md., 1989), in which ideology, psychoanalysis, and romanticism smoothly blend into a poetical language, is a coherently depicted love story of an artist, who is a key figure of the underground opposition in the last years of Reżā Shah’s reign, and an educated girl of aristocratic background. Čašmhāyaš caused a considerable stir and enjoyed a wide readership (Kamshad, 1966, p. 120). ʿAlawī’s works were banned in Persia between 1953-1979. His long short story “Mīrzā” (1968, tr. by J. Wilks as “Mirza” in H. Moayyad, ed., Stories From Iran: A Chicago Anthology 1921-91, Chicago, 1991, pp. 61-85) and the novel Sālārīhā (1979), written in exile, were published in East Berlin. His later works, such as Mūryānahā (Termites, 1993), which tells the story of the last years of the Pahlavi regime from the perspective of an agent of the secret police, SAVAK, are of considerably less literary merit (ʿAbedīnī, 1987-98, II, pp. 30-35).
The 1940s marked a rare and short-lived period of freedom of expression in Persia when political and literary activity, especially of a polemical nature, flourished. This period also witnessed gradual changes and shifts in literary and linguistic taste and preferences. English replaced French as the foreign language of choice. Writers from the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries became increasingly popular. The gradual shift from preoccupation with story line and content (as in Jamālzāda) to formal sophistication and internal coherence (as in Hedāyat) found its early representation in the later works of some of the novelists of this generation. While some writers, such as Rasūl Parvīzī (1919-77) and Jalāl Āl-e Aḥmad (1923-69), preferred traditional narrative techniques and followed a more or less realistic style, a newly-emerged generation, including the likes of Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Qarīb (b. 1923), author of Afsāna-ye sārbān (The legend of the camel driver, 1948), experimented with surrealism, which had already been introduced into Persian literature by Hedāyat. The diversity of literary trends was well manifested in the First Congress of Iranian Writers, sponsored by the Perso-Soviet Society (Tehran, 1946), which, although preponderantly leftist in sympathy, allowed opposing views to be heard and produced a level of sophistication in its often vigorous debates which was not equalled for some years to come. It should be noted that a second wave of novelists, such as Behāḏīn (Maḥmūd Eʿtemādzāda), Ṣādeq Čūbak, Sīmīn Dānešvar, and Āl-e Aḥmad, started their literary career in this period, but their most important works appeared about or after 1953.
THE MIDDLE GENERATIONS (1953-1979)
This period falls between two momentous historical events with profound reverberations on the nation’s psyche: the coup d’etat of 1332 Š./1953 (q.v.), which overthrew the government of Moḥammad Moṣaddeq, and the Revolution of 1978-79 ending the Pahlavi era. It was a period of tumultuous literary and cultural transformations. Works of form-conscious American novelists, such as Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and William Faulkner, were translated into Persian and much admired. French writers, especially Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre, were also influential, particularly as both wrote on the relationship between politics, philosophy, and literature, although from differing stances. The first part of the period, 1953-1963, in which a new literary generation, whose political ideals had been betrayed, came of age, is generally remembered as a decade of disappointments and regrets. The aggressive social criticism of earlier years was replaced by self criticism and introvert romanticism. The period as a whole was marked by two dominant and conflicting literary trends: populism and modernism. Modernist writers, discarding the confines of social realism, prominent in populist oeuvres, strove to redefine the then current concepts of commitment in literature.
Ṣādeq Čūbak (1916-95) selected his protagonists from the lower echelons of society and gave their mundane and uneventful lives a sense of grim dignity. He was the first writer of this generation to use the full potential of the dialogue as a narrative technique. Better known for his short stories, Čūbak penned two novels, Tangsīr (1963; tr. F. R. C. Bagley and Marziya Samiʿi as “One Man and His Gun” in Sadeq Chubak: An Anthology, Delmar, N. Y. 1982, pp. 13-181), and Sang-e ṣabūr (1966, tr. M. R. Ghanoonparvar as The Patient Stone, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1989). Tangsīr, arguably Čūbak’s best work in his social realist phase, centers around the life of a Tangestānī, a victim of injustice, who takes matters into his own hands, kills the oppressors, and becomes a regional hero. Tangsīr was adapted into a successful screenplay directed by Amīr Nāderī in 1974. With Sang-e ṣabūr, however, in which the techniques of stream of consciousness and interior monologue are skillfully deployed to delve into the inner thoughts of the characters, Čūbak takes a more naturalistic stand to portray the disturbed mind of a religious serial killer, obsessed with murdering women he perceives as being morally corrupt (Barāhenī, 1969, pp. 696-741). Behāḏīn (b. 1915), also noted for his fine translations of Western classics, wrote several collections of short stories and a novel, Doḵtar-e raʿīyat (The peasant’s daughter, l951), which “presents the author’s fantasy of the coming of social revolution and justice through the title character’s (implausible) hopefulness and break from the serf class to enter the working class after years of oppression at the hands of the Gilani landlord class in the l910s,” (Hillmann, l987, p. 79; cf. ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, I, pp. 154-55; Kamshad, 1966, p. 130).
Among the second generation of writers primarily concerned with social and political issues, Jalāl Āl-e Aḥmad (q.v.) is a pivotal figure, deeply concerned with questions of social justice, economic transformation, intellectual and religious life, alienation, as well as cultural colonialism. He experimented with various types of narrative: polemical essays, travelogues, ethnographic reports, autobiography, as well as works of fiction (Dehbāšī, pp. 21-22). In addition tos short stories, he wrote three novels: Modīr-emadrasa (1958, tr. J. K. Newton as The School Principal, Minneapolis, 1974); Nūn wa’l-qalam (1961, tr. M. Ghanoonparvar as By the Pen, Austin, Tex., 1988), and Nefrīn-e zamīn (1966, The curse of the land). In all of them, as in most of Āl-e Aḥmad’s works, the author is subsumed by the social critic. In Modīr-e madrasa, Āl-e Aḥmad, with his characteristcally whimsical style, pours scorn on the absurdities of the curriculum and pedagogical methods of the existing educational system (which stands as a symbol for defects in society as a whole). Nefrīn-e zamīn is Āl-e Aḥmad’s lengthiest narrative, and contains a savage rebuttal of the government sponsored agrarian reforms to modernize traditional techniques of farming and irrigation. His dramatization of the circumstances of village life in Nefrīn-e zamīn was later developed into a recurrent motif and appeared in the works of many novelists who succeeded him (ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, II, pp. 111-64; Mīrṣādeqī, p. 632; Yarshater, 1984, pp. 53-55).
The publication of ʿAlī-Moḥammad Afḡānī’s (b. 1925)monumental novel of social realism, over eight hundred pages long, entitled Šowhar-e Āhū Ḵānom (Āhū Khanum’s husband, 1961) was an important literary event. One of its first reviews began by declaring that “without a doubt, the greatest Persian novel (romān) has been created,” (Parhām, p. 970). Although even this enthusiastic review contained several detailed criticisms of Afḡānī’s uneven style, the book remains a classic of modern Persian fiction. Against a vivid panorama of a provincial town, the novel describes the life of a middle-aged baker who falls in love with an exciting young woman and takes her as his second wife. The triangular relationship, and the whole range of human passion, frailty, suffering, and even mischief that it generates, is described with much compassion and some psychological insight. The novel was later turned into a successful screenplay directed by Dāwūd Mollāpūr in 1968. Afḡānī’s later works, such as Šādkāmān-e darra-ye Qarasū (The blissful inhabitants of the Qarasū valley, 1966), critical of local landowners; Dr. Baktāš (1985); Hamsafarhā (Travel companions, 1988); and Maḥkūm ba eʿdām (On death row, 1991) did not become as popular as his first novel, and all suffer from an overindulgence in social and political commentary at the expense of plausibility and aesthetic considerations.
The works of Ebrāhīm Golestān (b. 1922) a modernist writer, are interesting for their experiments in narrative techniques, sentence patterns, abandonment of linear plots, and cinematic delineation of scenes and episodes. Golestān made his literary debut with short stories. His only longer narrative, a satirical allegory, Asrār-e ganj-e darra-ye jennī (The secrets of the treasure of the haunted valley, 1974) makes imaginative use of techniques of the cinema in its narrative. Its main character, a poor farmer who stumbles across a buried treasure in his field, “is a character in a twentieth century morality play. He is Every Third Worlder who, because of an accident of history and geology, suddenly and without any preparation leaves the thirteenth century and joins the ranks of homo consumerus” (Sprachman, p. 156). The satirical content and its timing, appearing as it did during the years of the oil boom and mindless consumerism, was not lost to those who read the book and saw the film (directed by Golestān himself, 1974) before censorship caught up with it.
Taqī Modarresī’s (1932-97) first novel Yakolyā wa tanhāʾī-e ū (Yakolyā and her loneliness, 1956) revolves around the forbidden love of Yakolyā, the fictive daughter of an Old Testament king of Israel, for her father’s shepherd. The love in which Yakolyā takes refuge to escape her loneliness brings her banishment and wandering and intensifies her inescapable solitude. The biblical theme of the novel is couched in an appropriately poised and sober poetical language. It won the author instant fame, being chosen as the best book of the year by the influential literary journal Soḵan. His next book, Šarīfjān, Šarīfjān, published in 1965, fared less well. It dealt with the waning power of traditional landowners against increasing state control. Solitude and alienation, themes already prevalent in Yakolyā wa tanhāʾī-e ū, were again dominant in his later novels, Ketāb-e ādamhā-ye ḡāyeb (1989, translated by the author as The Book of Absent People, New York, 1986), Ādāb-e zīārat (1989, translated by the author as The Pilgrim’s Rules of Etiquette, New York, 1989), and ʿAḏrā-ye ḵalvatnešīn (The Virgin of solitude, in progress), all written during his long sojourn in the United States (Rahimieh, pp. 34-36). Those novels, penned in his self-imposed exile, “may represent a special category in which it is difficult to speak of an original and a translation: The Pilgrim’s Rules of Etiquette is not so much a translation of his Persian Ādāb-e zīārat as a separate work emerging from the same creative process” (Beard, p. 448).
Bahrām Ṣādeqī (1936-83), yet another modernist writer, is praised for both his several collection of short stories, some tinged with surrealistic humor, and his short novel Malakūt (Heavenly kingdom, 1961). Influenced by psychoanalytical theories both directly and through the influence of Hedāyat, Malakūt remains strikingly original. Ṣādeqī’s characters, many of them failed government employees and frustrated intellectuals, are consumed by anxiety and terror, and at times even undergo Kafkaesque transmutations and mutilations. In Malakūt, for example, the two protagonists—the two sides of a coin—confront each other like two scorpions engaged in a slow, measured dance of death (ʿĀbedīnī 1987-98, I, pp. 254-59; Sepānlū, 1992, pp. 115-17; Ṣanʿaṭī).
In the second half of the period, Persian writers, as a professional class, drew attention to their shared rights and responsibilities and formed in l968 the Kānūn-e Nevīsandagān-e Īrān (The Association of Iranian Writers), which took the lead in dealing with the problems of censorship and promoting the professional interests of the writers (Karimi-Hakkak, 1985). Meanwhile the number of writers proliferated. The palpable sense of loss and failure of the earlier years of the period, gave way to a positive drive to find the underlying causes of their present state and possible ways of its amelioration. Women novelists produced literary works of acclaimed quality. And the novel overtook the short story as the most popular genre of creative fiction.
Contemporary history appeared as a major theme in the works of the second generation of historical novelists who, unlike those of the previous generation, searched the immediate past to highlight a plagued present. In Sīmīn Dānešvar’s (b. 1921) Savūšūn (1969, tr. M. Ghanoonparvar as Savushun: A Novel About Modern Iran, Washington, D.C., 1990; tr. R. Zand as A Persian Requiem, New York, 1991) the history of a family and that of Persia during the Second World War are woven together. The heroic stand taken by a southern family against British colonial intrigues ends in the murder of the husband, with the wife determined to carry on the struggle (Milani, 1992, p. 11). The first volume of Dānešvar’s second socio-historical novel, Jazīra-ye sargardānī (The Island of bewilderment), appeared in 1992 (see below), but failed to match the success of its predecessor.
The Moṣaddeq era, the aftermath of the 1953 coup, and the Persia-Iraq War are the subject of Aḥmad Maḥmūd’s (b. 1931) historical trilogy; Hamsāyahā (Neighbors, 1974), Dāstān-e yek šahr (The tale of a city, 1981), and Zamīn-e sūḵta (Scorched earth, 1982). Mosṭafā Raḥīmī (b. 1925) also portrays contemporaneous historical episodes in his Bāyad zendagī kard (Life must go on, 1977).
The historical background of the popular comic novel by Īraj Pezeškzād (b. 1927), Dāʾī jān Nāpelʾon (q.v., 1964, tr. D. Davis as My Uncle Napoleon, Washington, D. C., 1996) is also the post war years, a time of fundamental change in the social and political structure of the country. The novel and its subsequent serialization as a television show (by Nāṣer Taqwāʾī, 1975) were a huge success. The story revolves around the life of the narrator’s uncle, a quixotic figure, sardonically and humorously named Dāʾī Jān Nāpelʾon, capable of seeing the conspiratorial hands of the British in the most unlikely places (see CONSPIRACY THEORIES).
Jamāl Mīrṣādeqī (b. 1933), author of several books on literary criticism and an advocate of realism and political activism, began his literary career by writing for the literary journal Soḵan. Primarily a short story writer, whose several collections of stories have shown his ability to capture the mood and sensibilities of the deprived and the downtrodden, and whose commitment to a left-of-center, liberal view of Persian events was so common among his contemporaries, Mīrṣādeqī has also produced an important novel, Bādhā ḵabar az taḡyīr-e faṣl mīdādand (The winds announced a change of season, 1984). It depicts the lives and development of a number of friends from low-income families and their vicissitudes in love, marriage, parental care, and above all in facing the abuses of an autocratic regime. Yarshater has called it a major novel of the period and a highly accomplished one in terms of its construction and economy (1986, p. 292). Among Mīrṣādeqī’s other novels are Šab-čerāḡ (The glittering gem, 1976) and Ātaš az ātaš (Fire from fire, 1985).
The writings of Hūšang Golšīrī (b. 1937) are distinguished by their complex structure, vivid language, and subtle manipulations of narrative time. Šāzda Eḥtejāb (1968, tr. M. R. Buffington as “Prince Eḥtejāb” in Hillmann, ed., 1976, pp. 250-303), Golšīrī’s highly acclaimed short novel, is a tortured journey of self-realization through the remembrance of things past. A collection of inherited clocks comes to life in the story and sounds the death knell for the prince as well as for the era of which he is the last bedraggled relic. Golšīrī’s skillful exploitation of stream of consciousness narration converts this story of outer actions into a drama of the life of the mind. Šāzda Eḥtejāb was adapted into a successful screenplay directed by Bahman Farmānārā (1974). In Krīstīn o Kīd (1971), his second novel and another attempt to experiment with new narrative techniques of the nouveaux romans, the process of narration is treated as a part of the narrative—a technique he later developed and employed in some of his post-revolution works, including Āʾīnahā-ye dardār (Mirrors with doors, 1992), another journey of self-realization, undertaken this time by an intellectual novelist who travels to different European cities giving readings of the story he is writing (Kalāntarī, pp. 30-37; Oḵowwat, pp. 244-55). Here again his use of repetition of the same images and actions seen from different angles and perspectives, may imply a sisyphean attempt at capturing the totality of experience, the impossibility of which the writer himself is the first to admit (ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, II, p. 275). For him as for many post-modernist writers, the failure itself is a confirmation of the limitations of language and of illusions inherent in the process of writing. In the “Maʿṣūmhā” (The innocents)series of stories, published in a collection entitled Namāz-ḵāna-ye kūčak-e man (My little prayer-room, 1975), as well as in his longer work, Barra-ye gomšoda-ye rāʿī (The lost lamb of the shepherd, 1977), Golšīrī experimented with mythological themes and classical texts (Ā. Nafīsī, 1986).
Hormoz Šahdādī is yet another writer who evokes the life of the time through the eyes of an intellectual, alienated from himself and filled with anxiety, in his novel, Šab-e howl (The Night of terror, 1978). The narrative, characterized by its multi-layered structure, benefits from Šahdādī’s skillful use of extended interior monologues.
Esmāʿīl Faṣīḥ (b. 1935) is distinguished among his contemporaries for his ability to interweave the history of a city and a nation, in the mid-decades of this century, with the history and development of a single family, whose members are the shared characters of most of his novels. Faṣīḥ’s first novel, Šarāb-e ḵām (Immature wine, 1966), a detective story, was followed by the publication of a series of novels, of which the most popular and outstanding is Del-kūr (Blind-hearted, 1970). Most of Faṣīḥ’s novels, however, have appeared after the Revolution of 1979 (see below).
The mismanagement of the economy during these years, manifested in rural exodus and urban shantytowns, provided the impetus for a re-emergence of the village as a popular topos in the novels of the period. The village topos, as treated by the second generation of social novelists, however, did not resemble the idyllic pastorals of the Constitutional period as depicted by writers and poets such as ʿEšqī and Ḥejāzī. Both the village and the city were now populated by anxiety-ridden characters.
Most of the work of Maḥmūd Dawlatābādī (b. 1940), including Owsena-ye Bābā Sobḥān (The Legend of Bābā Sobḥān, 1968), and Jā-ye ḵālī-e Salūč (The empty place of Salūč, 1979; German tr. by S. Lotfi as Der leere Platz von Solutsch, Zürich, 1991) transpire in the arid regions of northeastern Persia. Kelīdar (published in 10 volumes, 1979-84), a monumental panorama of life in his native Khorasan, incorporates a variety of elements, rendering it into a well-substantiated documentary on the physical, social, and political features of the region and the abuses committed by landlords and government agents. Like Afḡānī’s Šowhar-e Āhū ḵānom, Kelīdar won instant acclaim. It has been described by one critic as an “epic of decline” (Navvabpour, p. 433); Ehsan Yarshater called it “the greatest novel of the Persian language” (1987, pp. 106-7). Using often poetic descriptions and a rich vocabulary of both regional and archaic words, Dawlatābādī’s cadenced prose at times achieves the dignity and grandeur of an epic (ibid.; Moayyad, 1988). His prose follows the epic technique of introducing heightened dramatic passages in the texture of the narrative to signal and describe its climactic moments (Yavari, 1989a). The first installment of Dowlatābādī’s second multi-volume novel, Rūzgār-e separī šoda-ye mardomān-e sālḵorda (The bygone days of the aged) was published in 1990.
Incessant rain and the mist-covered forests of the north are the settings of the novels by Akbar Rādī (b. 1939), and Maḥmūd Ṭayyārī (b. 1938), while the rural areas of the western part of the country are accurately portrayed in the fiction of ʿAlī-Ašraf Darvīšīān (b. 1941), including his most recent novel, Sāl-ī abrī (A cloudy year, 1991), in four volumes (ʿĀbedīnī, 1987-98, II, pp. 149-51).
THE POST-REVOLUTIONARY GENERATION
The Revolution of 1979, which was at first regarded by many writers as a unifying cause creating the possibility of their vision’s fulfillment (Karimi-Hakkak, 1991, p. 513), and in which most of them took a more or less active part, was followed by a short lull in literary production. But before long, fiction re-emerged as the dominant vehicle of literary expression, taking advantage of the brief period of relative freedom after the revolution and before the re-imposition of strict censorship following the fall of Mahdī Bāzargān’s cabinet in 1981. More novels and short stories were written in this period than ever before. The writings of the period have a wide range, extending from heavy revolutionary polemics and depictions of prison, torture, and displacement to much lighter genres including detective stories. The period was also marked by the introduction of magical realism, a narrative mode which appeared initially in some universally acclaimed Latin American novels. It relies on the simultaneous existence of two contradictory levels of reality, natural and supernatural, and exploits the often grotesque juxtaposition of the two with implied irony or even downright black humor. It was also a time of great productivity in translations, both from and into Persian. And finally it heralded the establishment of women writers as a powerful literary force with their own concerns and ideologically varied but distinct identities.
Persian post-revolutionary fiction writers fall into two categories: those who had already established themselves as writers before 1979, and those who started their literary career chiefly after the revolution. Some of the writers from both categories joined the ranks of the revolution in its very early stages. Others, however, either gradually turned against the revolution or attempted to steer clear of the ensuing debates. Some went abroad, and wrote novels and short stories colored by sentiments of exile and separation (see below iii).
The very first post-revolutionary works of fiction were produced by the established writers of the previous period, including Faṣīḥ, Dowlatābādī, Golšīrī, and Mīrṣādeqī. Faṣīḥ’s first post-revolutionary novel, Ṯorayā dar ēḡmā (1983, tr. by the author as Sorraya in a Coma, London, 1985), evolves around the chaotic life of the very first Persian exiles in Paris. His powers of storytelling are in evidence in his tragi-comic evocation of recurrent post-revolutionary situations, as for example in the account of a bus journey out of Persia and the often comical reactions of the various passengers to the prevailing border restrictions. His second novel Zemestān-e šaṣt o do (The winter of ‘62, 1987), the first novel on Iran-Iraq war, and arguably Faṣīḥ’s best novel after the revolution, returns to the displacement and sense of loss within the country through the eyes of one of the familiar protagonists of his novels, Jalāl Ārīan (Yarshater, 1989). It recounts his journey to the front with Iraq and his encounters with a panoply of characters of different classes and political convictions, all displaced, and all grappling with the death of loved ones or contemplating the possibility of their own death. Faṣīḥ’s later novels, such as Nāma ba donyā (Letter to the world) published in Washington in 1995, also explore themes of war and displacement.
In the post-revolutionary novels of Reżā Barāhenī, also the author of several books and many articles on literary criticism, robust critical views, hitherto enshrouded in an allusive style, are expressed more openly. His short novel Az čāh ba čāh (From one well to another, 1983) evolves around the repeated incarceration of a politically active intellectual in the late Pahlavi era. His other recent novels include Āvāz-e koštagān (The song of the slain, 1985), Rāzhā-ye sarzamīn-eman (Mysteries of my land, 1987), and Āzāda Ḵānom wa nevīsanda-aš (Azadeh Khanum and her writer, 1988).
Jawād Mojābī (b. 1939) and Aḥmad Āqāʾī (b. 1936) are among other already established novelists from the previous period with strong political convictions. Mojābī’s allegorical novels, such as Šahrbandān (Curfew, 1987), and Šab-e malaḵ (The night of the locust, 1990), and Mūmīāʾī (Mummified, 1993), in which a pre-Islamic Persian king follows his own coffin throughout the centuries to highlight the historical roots of the present ills, and Āqāʾī’s Čerāḡānī dar bād (Illuminations in the wind, 1988) are all impregnated with the horrors of dictatorship (Wajdī).
Šahrnūš Pārsīpūr (b. 1945), who had already published her Sag o zemestān-e boland (The Dog and the long winter, 1976) before the revolution, won instant fame with the publication of Ṭūbā wa maʿnā-ye šab (Ṭūbā and the meaning of the night, 1988). The novel, generally regarded as one of the first magical realist novels in Persian, is a retelling of Persia’s recent history in connection with various phases in the eponymous heroine’s life. As Ṭūbā lives her long life, along with an assorted cast of relatives and political figures, the country undergoes fundamental transformations in the time span between the Constitutional era and the Revolution of l979 (Yāvarī 1989, pp. 130-41). The psychological transformation of women appears as a recurring motif in Pārsīpūr’s other works, including her collection of short stories, Zanān bedūn-e mardān (1989, tr. by K. Talattof and J. Sharlt as “Women Without Men" in Middle East Literature in Translation, Syracuse, 1998) and ʿAql-e ābī (Blue intellect, San Jose, Calif., 1994). The Persian original of Pārsīpūr’s Ḵāṭerāt-e zendān (Prison memoirs, 1996) was published in Los Angeles.
A number of younger writers are distinguished by focusing on local scenes, customs, and folklore in their works. Monīrū Ravānīpūr’s (b. 1954) writing, in a language strongly colored by her local dialect and influenced by magical realism, centers with few exceptions around the local myths and legends which take place in Jofra, a remote village on the Persian Gulf (Rahimieh, pp. 61-75; Lewis and Yazdanfar, p. 50; Falakī). She has written several collections of short stories and two novels: Ahl-e ḡarq (The people of drowning, 1989) and Del-e fūlād (Heart of steel, 1990). Asḡar Elāhī, Nāṣer Moʾaḏḏen, Nasīm Ḵāksār, Moḥammad-Reżā Ṣafdarī, Bahrām Elāhī, and ʿAdnān Ḡorayfī are also among the regional writers whose work is permeated by the atmosphere and colors of their locality, providing along the way a wealth of ethnographic information. Qoqnūshā-ye ʿaṣr-e ḵākestar (The phoenixes of the age of ash, 1992), by Ḥasan Šekārī, and the writings of Ṭeyfūr Baṭḥāyī are among the very first fictional accounts of the perennial political turmoil in Kurdistan.
Moḥsen Maḵmalbāf (b. 1957), a prolific writer of plays and film scripts and a cinematographer, was an acclaimed figure among the group of young writers who identified themselves strongly with the Revolution of 1978-79. Besides his short stories and screen plays, he has written two novels, Ḥawż-e Solṭūn (Solṭūn’s pool [a salt-marsh near Qom], 1984) and Bāḡ-e bolūr (The crystal garden, 1986), in which most characters, although from different backgrounds, tend to speak and act solely in the vocabulary and discourse of the ruling religious ideology (Gheissari, 1994; Yavari, 1990, pp. 61-74).
Psychoanalytic concepts and theories, employed by many Persian novelists in various forms and degrees, found a distinct niche in post-revolutionary fiction. ʿAbbās Maʿrūfī (b. 1957), a journalist and a writer, has succeeded in constructing points of coincidence between aesthetic and psychic structures in his first and most advanced novel, Samfonī-e mordagān (Symphony of the dead, 1989; tr. into German by A. Gharaman-Beck as Symphonie der Toten, Frankfurt, l996). An innovative adaptation of the biblical and koranic story of Cain and Abel, the novel evolves around the life and eventual death of two brothers and their tyrannical martinet of a father, in a society undergoing fundamental transformations (Tehrānčīān). Maʿrūfī utilizes the Freudian model of the encapsulated id and superego to create a decentered structure, and to narrate the story, simultaneously, from different points of view (Yavari, 1995a). The narrative techniques of the novel have been compared to those of some western novelists, most notably Faulkner (Mahvīzānī, I, pp. 11-17). Maʿrūfī employs the same narrative techniques in his other novels, such as Sāl-e balvā (The year of catastrophes, 1992), and, in particular, Peykar-e Farhād (1995; tr. into German by A. Gharaman-Beck as Die dunkle Seite, Frankfurt, 1998), in which the male narrator recounts the tragic history of Persian womanhood from the perspective of the female character in Hedāyat’s Būf-e kūr (q.v.). Jaʿfar Modarres Ṣādeqī (b. 1954), translator, editor, and also one of the few writers in this period using pre-Islamic motifs and myths, is another author under the influence of psychoanalysis, who also attempts to experiment with narrative techniques of the nouveaux romans. Among his more significant novels, which share protagonists, are Gāvḵūnī (1983), Safar-e Kasrā (Kasrā’s journey, 1989), a love story heavily colored with ideology and politics, and especially Nākojā-ābād (Nowhere land, 1990), which tells the story of the protagonist’s encounter with the deep layers of the nation’s collective unconscious, visualized in archetypes and symbols from pre-Islamic times.
The turbulent final years of the Qajar era appear as a leitmotif in the fiction of this period. Amīr Ḥasan Čeheltan (b. 1956) examined the history of the Constitutional movement from a female perspective in his innovative work Tālār-e aʾīna (The hall of mirrors, 1991), a novel in five sections which evolves around the life of two sisters and their politically active father (Mahvīzānī, II, pp. 58-61). Čeheltan’s latest work of fiction is Mehr gīāh (The mandrake, 1998). Reżā Jūlāʾī (b. 1950) narrated the horrors of Persia’s two disastrous wars with Russia in his inspiring novel, Šab-e ẓolmānī-e yaldā wa ḥadīṯ-e dordkešān (The longest night of the year and the tale of the tippler, 1990; Mahvīzānī, II, pp. 73-75). Jūlāʾī has penned two other novels, Sūʾ-e qaṣd ba ḏāt-e homāyūnī (An attempt on his majesty’s life, 1995), and Jāvdānagān (The immortals, 1997). The same period furnishes the historical background to Ḵāna-ye Edrīsīhā (The house of the Edrīsīs, 1992) by Ḡazāla ʿAlīzāda (1948-1995). A novel in four sections, Ḵana-ye Edrīsīhā is based on the interplay of geometrical forms, the circle, the square, and the number four, with the story narrated from four different perspectives. All three novelists endeavor to write in a language appropriate to the historical era in which their novels are set, with varying degrees of success.
Immediate contemporary history has also been treated by many novelists of the period. Special mention should be made of Sīmīn Dānešvar’s autobiographical novel, Jazīra-ye sargardānī (The island of bewilderment, 1992), which depicts the heady days before the Revolution of 1979. By creating a cast of politically confused and failure bound characters, the novel takes a critical stand toward underpinning ideologies of the revolution, particularly those advocated by Āl-e Aḥmad and his followers (Yavari, 1998). In Šams Langerūdī’s Reža bar ḵāk-e pūk (Parade on hollow ground, 1994), the narrator delves into the past to reflect on the uneasy relationship between tradition and modernity. The novels of Ferešta Sārī (b. 1955)—Morvārīd Ḵātūn (1990), Jazīra-ye nīlī (The cobalt blue island, 1991) and Ārāmgāh-e ʿāšeqān (The lovers’ mausoleum, 1995)—and Šīvā Arasṭūʾī’s Ū-rā ke dīdam zībā šodam (I became beautiful when I saw him, 1993) are among many works of fiction of the period produced by women novelists that have won their authors immediate recognition.
The second half of this period has witnessed a broad reception for works of fiction written primarily for entertainment purposes. These period pieces are mostly written by women. Notable among them is the immensely popular Bāmdād-e ḵomār (The morning after, 1996) by Fattāna Hājj Sayyed Jawādī (b. 1942), which has achieved enormous popularity and has been reprinted many times. It depicts the story of two lovers from different social classes and the ensuing tragic outcome of their misalliance. Like some early historical novels, it idealizes a vanishing gentry, but instead of castigating the emerging bourgeoisie as villains, it is the working and lower classes who are portrayed here as ruthlessly rapacious and self-centered (Karimi-Hakkak, 1997, pp. 447-70; Dastḡayb, 1997, pp. 283-92; but see the appreciative critique by ʿAlī Ferdowsī, which points to the significance of the novel’s symbolism in reflecting the author’s negative view of recent upheavals in Iran). Serialized detective or love stories, mostly written also by women, have attracted a much wider readership in the 1990s and are interesting both thematically and structurally inasmuch as they reflect the manner in which aesthetic and social phenomena generate and complement one another. Serialized stories by Fahīma Raḥīmī and Nasrīn Ṯòāmenī, reprinted several times with runs exceeding ten thousand copies, are more meaningful as social events than literary ones (ʿĀbedīnī, 1993). They are mostly stories involving happy endings to forbidden romances.
Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):
Ḥ. ʿĀbedīnī, Ṣad sāl dāstān nevīsī dar Īrān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1366-77 Š./1987-98 (this book, with special emphasis on major political events and cultural issues, provides a convenient survey of the historical development of fiction writing in Persia; it also offers a wealth of information on the major novels and short stories and their authors). Idem, Farhang-e dāstān nevīsān-e Īrān, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.
Idem, “Gozāreš-ī az adabīyāt-e dāstānī…” Kelk, 1372-76 Š./1994-97, nos. 47-48, pp. 150-62; 49-50, pp. 72-78; 51-52, pp. 75-80; 53, pp. 119-24; 54, pp. 270-74; 55-56, pp. 99-103; 58-59, pp. 57-62; 61-64, pp. 430-38; 67, pp. 181-85; 71-72, pp. 182-87; 73-75, pp. 71-75; 76-79, pp. 442-49; 80-83, pp. 69-75; 85-88, pp. 179-85; 89-93, pp. 141-44.
F. Ādamīyat, Andīšahā-ye Mīrzā Aqā Ḵān Kermānī, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 55-56.
Idem, Andīšahā-ye Mīrzā Fatḥ-ʿAlī Āḵūndzāda, Tehran, 1349 Š./l970.
M. Ājūdānī, “Tāblo-ye Maryam,” Āyanda, 12/1-3, 1365 Š./1986, pp. 48-56.
Idem, Mašrūṭa-ye Īrānī wa pīš-zamīna-ye naẓarīya welāyat-e faqīh, London, l997 (contains significant materials on the literature and the main literary figures of the Constitutional period). Mīrzā Fatḥ-ʿAlī Aḵūndzāda, Maqālāt, ed. B. Moʾmenī, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972.
B. ʿAlawī, “Naḵostīn kongera-yeʾ nevīsandagān-e Īrān,” tr. by T. M. Ricks and M. Amini as “The First Iranian Writers’ Congress,” in T. M. Ricks, ed., Critical Perspectives on Modern Persian Literature, Washington, D.C., 1984, pp. 8-25.
H. Algar, “Malkom Khān,” EI ² VI, pp. 291-92.
Āryanpūr, Az Ṣabā tā Nīmā (a succinct history of modern Persian literature during the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, combining judicious accounts of the writers of the period, their works, newspapers, etc., with abundant quotations and illustrations; a third volume, Az Nīmā tā rūzgār-e mā, has been published posthumously, Tehran, 1374 Š./1995).
P. Avery, “Development in Modern Persian Prose,” The Muslim World 45, 1995, pp. 313-23.
Y. Āžand, Adabīyāt-e novīn-e Īrān az enqelāb mašrūṭīyat tā enqelāb-e eslāmī, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.
M.-T. Bahār, Sabk-šenāsī III, Tehran, 1337 Š./1958, pp. 381-83.
Ch. Bala, “D’un congrès à l’autre,” in idem, C. Kappler, and Ž. Vesel, eds., Pand-o Sokhan, Tehran and Paris, 1995, pp. 27-36.
K. Banák, “Moḥammad Masʿūd ‘Tafrīḥāt-e šab’: Analytical Approach to the Composition of the Novel,” Asian and African Studies (Jerusalem)9, 1973, pp. 167-72.
Idem, “Mushfiq Kazimi’s Novel ‘The Horrible Tehran’: Romantic Fiction or Social Criticism?” Asian and African Studies (Jerusalem) 13, l977, pp. 147-52.
R. Barāhenī, Qeṣṣa-nevīsī, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969 (in addition to chapters on the thematic, aesthetic, and stylistic characteristics of fiction in general, the book provides an extended analysis of the fiction of Ṣādeq Čūbak). Idem, Kīmīā wa ḵāk, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985.
I. Bashiri, Hedayat’s Ivory Tower: Structural Analysis of The Blind Owl, Minneapolis, Minn., l974.
M. Beard, Hedayat’s Blind Owl as a Western Novel, Princeton, 1990 (a detailed study of the life and works of Ṣādeq Hedāyat, with emphasis on the interaction between The Blind Owl and Western narrative traditions).
Idem, “English iv. Translations of Modern Persian Literature,” EIr. VIII, p. 448.
Chanteh, no. 7, 1994 and no. 14, 1997 (special issues in remembrance of Ṣādeq Hedāyat and Taqī Modarresī).
J. W. Clinton, “A Bibliography of Modern Persian Literature in English Translation,” Iranian Studies 19, l986, pp. 327-46.
Daftar-e Honar, 1-5, 1372-75 Š./1993-97 (popular, special issues on Jamālzāda, Čūbak, Dānešvar, Modarresī, and Hedāyat).
ʿA. Dastḡayb, Naqd-e āṯār-e Ṣādeq Čūbak, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974.
Idem, Naqd-e āṯār-e Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Sāʿedī, Tehran, 1356 Š./1977a.
Idem, Naqd-e āṯār-e Jamālzāda, Tehran, 1356 Š./1977b.
Idem, Naqd-e āṯār-e M. A. Behāḏīn, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978a.
Idem, Naqd-e āṯār-e Ṣādeq Hedāyat, Tehran, 1357 Š./l978b.
Idem, Naqd-e āṯār-e Bozorg ʿAlawī, 1357 Š./1979.
Idem, Gerāyešhā-ye motażādd dar adabīyāt-e moʿāṣer-e Īrān, Tehran, 1371Š./1992.
Idem, “Bamdād-e ḵomār,” Barrasī-e ketāb 7/2, 1997, pp. 284-92.
ʿA. Dehbāšī, ed., Yād-nāma-ye Jalāl Āl-e Aḥmad, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985.
M. ʿEbādīān, Darāmad-ī bar adabīyāt-e moʿāṣer-e Īrān, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992.
M. Estʿelāmī, Barrasī adabīyāt-e emrūz-e Īrān, Tehran, 1356 Š./1975.
M. Falakī, “ʿAnāṣer-e reʾālīsm-e jādūʾī dar romān-e modern,” Barrasī-e ketāb 3/1, 1992, pp. 895-99.
M. F. Farzāna (M. F. Farzaneh), “Jamālzāda wa Ṣādeq Ḥedāyat: pāyagoḏārān-e adabīyāt-e novīn-e fārsī” Īrān-nāma 16/1, 1998, pp. 25-47.
E. Faṣīḥ, “Moṣāḥaba bā Esmāʿīl Faṣīḥ,á” Kelk, 55-56, 1373 Š./1994, pp. 208-41 (round-table interview with Faṣīḥ).
A. Gheissari (see A. Qeysarī). ʿA. Ferdowsī, "Havas-e ḵām: ḥadīṯ-e enqelāb dar Bāmdād-e ḵomār,” Īrān-nāma 16/4, 1377 Š./1998, pp. 641-78.
M. R. Golbon, Ketāb-šenāsī-e Ṣādeq Hedāyat, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975.
H. Golšīrī, “Sī sāl romān nevīsī" Jong-e Eṣfahān 5,1346 Š./1967, pp. 187-229.
Idem, Jedāl-e naqš bā naqqāš dar āṯār-e Sīmīn Dānešvar, Tehran, 1376 Š./1997 (traces the development and transformation of certain literary images in the novels and short stories of Sīmīn Dānešvar).
M. C. Hillmann, ed., Major Voices in Contemporary Persian Literature, Literature East and West 20, Austin, Tex., l976 (a representative sampling of short stories and some prose non-fiction by eighteen of Persia’s major literary figures in the period between 1941-1977).
Idem, ed., Hedāyat’s ’The Blind Owl’ Forty Years After, Austin, Tex., l978 (articles providing a comprehensive survey of The Blind Owl from a variety of perpectives; it also includes English translations of Hedāyat’s two short stories, “Zenda ba gūr” [Buried alive] and “Seh qaṭra ḵūn” [Three drops of blood]).
Idem, “Iranian Nationalism and Modernist Persian Literature,” in idem, ed., Essays on Nationalism and Asian Literatures, Literature East and West 23, Austin, Tex., 1987, pp. 69-89.
Idem, “Persian Prose Fiction (1921-77): An Iranian Mirror and Conscience,” in Yarshater, ed., 1988, pp. 291-317 (furnishes significant information on the historical development of modern fiction in Persia up to the 1980s).
Īrān-nāma 10/3, 1371 Š./1992 and 16/1, 1376 Š./1998 (special issues on Hedāyat and Jamālzāda).
H. Javadi, Satire in Persian Literature, Rutherford, N.J., 1988.
M. A. Jazayeri, “Recent Persian Literature: Observations on Themes and Tendencies,” Review of National Literatures 2/1, 1971, pp. 11-28.
ʿA. Kalāntarī, “Howīyat: zabān wa maʿnā dar Āʾīnahā-ye dardār,” Kankāš 11, 1994, pp. 30-37.
H. Kamshad (Ḥ. Kāmšād), Modern Persian Literature, Cambridge, l966; repr. Bethesda, Md., l996 (a comprehensive survey of the historical background and perceptive analysis of modern Persian prose literature and its practitioners up to the early 1960s, with extended sections on Jamālzāda and Hedāyat).
Idem, “Pīš-keswat-e nevīsandagān-e Īrān,” Īrān-nāma 16/1, 1998, pp. 5-24.
A. Karimi-Hakkak (Karīmī Ḥakkāk), “Protest and Perish: A History of the Writer’s Association of Iran,” in Iranian Studies 18, 1985, pp. 189-229.
Idem, “Revolutionary Posturing: Iranian Writers and the Iranian Revolution of 1979,” IMJES 23, 1991, pp. 507-31.
Idem, Recasting Persian Poetry;Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1995, pp, 213-31 (traces the process of aesthetic change in modern poetry, which is equally relevant to the development of Persian prose; chapters 3 and 4 include significant information on the literary trends and figures of the pre- and post-Constitutional movement).
Idem, “Negāh-ī ba mowaffaqtarīn romān-e īrānī dar daha-ye goḏašta,” Īrān-nāma 15/3, l997, pp. 254-67.
P. N. Ḵānlarī, “Naṯr-e fārsī dar dawra-ye aḵīr” in Naḵostīn kongre-ye nevīsandaḡan-e Īrān, Tīr 1325 Š./1946, repr. Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, pp. 128-75.
H. Katouzian (H. Kātūzīān), “From Romantic Nationalism to Social Criticism,” in R. Ostle, ed., Modern Literature in the Near and Middle East (1850-1970), London, 1991, pp. 130-57.
Idem, "Būf-e kūr"-e Hedāyat, Tehran, 1994.
Idem, “Dār-al-majānīn,” Īrān-nāma 16/1, 1998, pp. 49-68.
J. E. Knörzer, “Daštī, Ālī,” EIr. VII, pp. 108-11.
V. Kubíčková, “Persian Literature of the 20th Century,” in Rypka, Hist. Iran. Lit. pp. 353-410.
F. Lewis and F. Yazdanfar, eds., ‘In a Voice of Their Own’: A Collection of Stories by Iranian Women Written Since the Revolution of 1979, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1996 (translation of a representative sampling of post-revolutionary short stories written by women with biographical data on each writer).
F. Machalski, “‘Šams et Toghrâ’: roman historique de Moḥammad Bāqir Hosrovî,” in F. Tauer, V. Kubíčkova, and I. Hrbek, eds., Charisteria orientalia praecipue ad Persiam pertinentia, Prague, l956, pp. 149-63.
Idem, “Le roman sur la vie de Nāder Šāh Afšar par Ṣanʿatī-Zādeh Kermānī,” Folia Orientalia 5, l960, pp. 222-231.
Idem, “Principaux courants de la prose persane moderne,” Rocznik Orientalistyczny 25, l96l, pp. 121-130.
Idem,La littérature de l’Iran contemporain, 3 vols., Warsaw, 1965-80.
E. Mahvīzānī, ed., Āʾīnahā: naqd o barrasī-e adabīyāt-e emrūz-e Īrān, 2 vols., Tehran, l994-96 (edited texts of monthly round-table meetings on the works of acclaimed fiction writers in the post-revolutionary period).
ʿA. Manāfzāda, “Ṣādeq Ḥedāyat wa tajaddod dar Īrān: negāh-ī ba dāstān-e Ḥājī Āqā,” Aḵtar 10, l970 Š./1991, pp. 56-76.
J. S. Meisami, “Iran,” in R. Ostle, ed., Modern Literature in the Near and Middle East (1850-1970), London, 1991, pp. 45-62.
J. Meṣbāḥ-pūr, Wāqʿīyat-e ejtamāʿī wa jahān-e dāstān, Tehran, 1358 Š./1979.
Š. Meskūb, Dāstān-e adabīyāt wa sargoḏašt-e ejtemāʿ 1300-1315, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994 (an innovative glance at some literary texts of the Constitutional era which highlights the points of coincidence between literary and social structures).
F. Milani (F. Mīlānī), Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, New York, 1992 (a survey of the relationship between the presence of veils and the absence of female written words in Persian culture with judicious accounts of the life and works of the very first female Persian poets and novelists).
Idem, ed., Nīma-ye dīgar 8, 1988 (special issue on Sīmīn Dānešvar).
J. Mīrṣādeqī, Adabīyāt-e dāstānī, repr. Tehran, 2nd. ed., 1371 Š./1992 (offers comprehensive information on the theoretical aspects of fiction writing; the last chapter of deals with contemporary Persian fiction; a representative sampling of the works are interpreted and analyzed).
Idem, ʿAnāṣer-e dāstān, Tehran, 1376 Š./1997.
H. Moayyad (Moʾayyad), “Taʾamolī dar Kelidār,” Irān-nāma 7/1, 1988, pp. 112-25.
Idem, ed., Stories from Iran: A Chicago Anthology 1921-91, Washington, D.C., 1991 (introduction provides a historical survey of the development of the short story in Persia).
Idem, B. Moʾmenī, Adabīyāt-e mašrūṭa, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.
Ā. Nafīsī (A. Naficy), “Honar āzādī ast wa rahāʾī,” Mofīd, no. 9, 1986, pp. 34-38.
Idem, “Moʿżal-e Būf-e kūr,” Īrān-nāma 10/3, 1371 Š./1992, pp. 583-596.
Idem, “Images of Women in Classical Persian Literature and the Contemporary Iranian Novel,” in M. Afkhami and E. Friedl, eds., In the Eye of the Storm: Women in Post-Revolutionary Iran, Syracuse, N.Y., l994, pp. 115-30.
S. Nafīsī, Šāhkār-e naṯr-e fārsī-e moʿāṣer, Tehran, 1330 Š/1951.
A. Najmabadi, ed., Women’s Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran, Cambridge, Mass., 1991.
Naḵostīn kongera-yeʾ nevīsandegān-e Īrān, tīr māh 1325, Tehran, 1326 Š./1947, repr. Tehran, 1357 Š./1978.
A. R. Navvabpour, “Klidar,” Iranian Studies 18, 1985, pp. 432-37.
P. Nūrī ʿAlā, “Taʾammol-ī dar adab-e fārsī,” Barrasī-e ketāb 2/8, l991, pp. 788-90.
M. R. Oḵowwat, “Golšīrī ba rewāyat-e Golšīrī,” Negāh-e Now 15, l993, pp. 247-55.
S. Parhām, “Šowhar-e Āhū ḵānom,” Rāhnemā-ye ketāb 4/10, 1340 Š./1962, pp. 970-74.
I. Parsinejad (Ī. Pārsīnežād), Mirza Fath Ali Akhundzadeh and Literary Criticism, Tokyo, l988.
Idem, “Mīrzā Āqā Ḵān Kermānī: Montaqed-e adabī,” Īrān-nāma 8/4, 1990, pp. 541-66.
Idem, “Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Marāḡaʾī: Montaqed-e adabī” Īrān-nāma 9/3, 1991, pp. 427-40.
Idem, “Mīrzā Fatḥ-ʿAlī Aḵūndzāda: Bonyāngoḏār-e naqd-e adabī dar Īrān,” Īrān-nāma 13/3, 1995, pp. 301-20.
A. Qeysarī (A. Gheissari), “Naqd-e adab-e ideʾoložīk: morūr-ī bar adabīyāt-e rowšan-fekrī wa maktabī-e Īrān,” Īrān-nāma 12/2, 1994, pp. 233-58.
Idem, Iranian Intellectuals in the Twentieth Century, Austin, Tex., 1998 (includes chapters on the problematic encounter between traditional Persia and Western forces of modernity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with information on the early stages of modern Persian prose).
M.-R. Qānūnparvar, “Kand o kāv-ī dar Zanān bedūn-e mardān,” Īrān-nāma 9/4, l991, pp. 690-99.
D. Raffat, ed. and tr., The Prison Papers of Bozorg Alavi: A Literary Odyssey, Syracuse, N.Y., 1985.
N. Rahimieh, “A Personal Reading of Alienation in Taqi Modarressi’s Novels,” Chanteh, no. 14, Spring 1997, pp. 34-36.
T. M. Ricks, ed., Critical Perspectives on Modern Persian Literature, Washington, D.C., 1984 (six chapters provide examples of critical writing and reviews on a variety of modern literary products of of Persia; the works and lives of six authors—Hedāyat, ʿAlawī, Čūbak, Āl-e Aḥmad, Sāʿedī, and Behrangī—are treated in detail).
ʿA.-A. Saʿīdi Sīrjānī, “Dehḵodā,” EIr. VII/2, pp. 216-20.
S. Šamīsā, Dastān-e yak rūḥ, Tehran, 1372 Š./1993.
M. Ṣanʿaṭī, “Barrasī-ye ravān-šenāḵtī-ye Malakūt,” Mofīd, no. 7, 1985, pp. 35-38.
J. Sattārī, Bāztāb-e yak osṭūra dar Būf-e kūr, Tehran, 1377 Š./1998.
M.-ʿA. Sepānlū, Bāzāfarīnī-e waqeʿīyat, Tehran, 1368 Š./1989 (twenty-seven selected short stories, each accompanied by a descriptive note by the author).
Idem, Nevīsandegān-e pīšrow-e Īrān, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992 (selective survey of the history and development of the novel, short story, drama, and literary criticism in Persia; post-1960 works are treated extensively).
Idem, “Dāstān-nevīsī-e moʿāṣer,” Ādīna, no.121-22, 1375 Š./1996, pp. 62-67.
P. Sprachman, “Ebrahim Golestan’s The Treasure: A Parable of Cliché and Consumption,” Iranian Studies 15, 1982, pp. 155-80.
Takāpū, no. 7, 1372 S./1993 (special issue on Sīmīn Dānešvar’s Jazīra-ye sargardānī).
Ḥ. Tehrānčīān, “Forūpāšī-e jāmeʿa-ye kohan dar Samfonī-e mordegān,” Kankāš, no. 11, l994, pp. 38-57.
Š. Wajdī, “Mūmīāʾī,” Barrasī-e ketāb 5/18, 1995, pp. 1961-72.
M. J. Yāḥaqqī, Čūn sabū-ye tašna, Tehran, 1375 Š./1996 (provides a historical survey of the development of modern Persian literature; fiction in general, and female fiction writers in particular, are dealt with in sections 3 and 5, respectively).
E. Yarshater (E. Yār-e Šāṭer), “Persian Letters in the Last Fifty Years,” Middle Eastern Affairs 11, 1960, pp. 297-306.
Idem, “The Modern Literary Idiom,” in Iran Faces the Seventies, New York, 1971, pp. 284-320; repr. in Ricks, ed., 1984, pp. 42-62 (a critical survey of modern Persian fiction, drama, and poetry, with special emphasis on the efforts of the modernists to break away from the traditions of the past in order to establish a new idiom and identity).
Idem, “Ṣādeq Hedāyat: An Appraisal,” in Yarshater, ed., 1979, pp. vii-xiv; repr. in idem, ed., 1988, pp. 318-23.
Idem, “Yād-dāšt 7: Taḡyīr-e faṣl,” Īrān-šenasī 5, 1365 Š./1986 (1987), pp. 287-92.
Idem, “Darbāra-ye Kelīdar,” Īrān-nāma 5/1, 1987, pp. 106-7.
Idem, “The Development of Iranian Literatures: Historical Perspective,” in Yarshater, ed., 1988, pp. 3-37.
Idem, “Šarāb-e ḵām o bāda-ye kohan,” Īrān-šenāsī 1/3, l989, pp. 472-81.
E. Yarshater, ed., Sadeq Hedayat: An Anthology, Boulder, Colo., 1979.
Idem, ed., Persian Literature, Albany, N.Y., l988 (in addition to articles on classical Persian literature, the book also contains significant essays on the history and development and characteristics of modern Persian prose and poetry as well as two articles on the life and works of Ṣādeq Hedāyat).
H. Yavari (Ḥ. Yāvarī), “From Novel to Epic: Mahmud Dowlatabadi’s Klidar,” Iranian Studies 22, 1989a, pp. 93-97.
Idem, “Taʾammol-ī dar Ṭūbā wa maʿnā-ye šab,” Īrān-nāma 7/1, l989b, pp. 130-41.
Idem, “Tārīḵ dar dāstān,” Kankāš, no. 6, l990, pp. 61-67.
Idem, “Discourse of Psychoanalysis and Literature and Post-Revolutionary Iran,” Critique, no.7, 1995a, pp. 101-11.
Idem, Ravān-kāvī wa adabīyāt, Tehran, 1374 Š./1995b.
Idem, “Naqd-e andīšahā-ye Āl-e Aḥmad dar adabīyāt-e dāstānī-e Īrān,” Negāh-e now, no. 37, l998, pp. 140-59.
Ḡ.-Ḥ. Yūsofī, Dīdārī bā ahl-e qalam, 2 vols, Mašhad, 1357-58 Š./l978-79 (vol. II contains essays on a diverse array of modern Persian fiction ranging from the popular Qajar story Amīr Arsaláān [q.v.] to the works of Ṣādeq Hedāyat; erudite and sound grasp of the essential cultural forces at work, particularly in chapters dealing with autobiographies, travelogues, and historical novels).
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 26, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fas.c 6, pp. 580-592