The dream of globalization of Iran’s today literature

Nima Malek mohammadi

Regarding the Iranian’s fondness to poetry it is enough to say that each individual of Iranian tries to write a poem at least once in his life. Thus, hearing the poems of Persian classic literature and verses from 6 to 9 century ago during daily conversations, from radio and T.V. and even in political speeches is very common there. However, this wide-spread interest to poems did not lead to the formation of a strong culture of reading books among these people and the public’s welcoming of the contemporary literature works during different periods has undergone many social, political and economic elements. In spite of rich records in the classic literature, Iran’s modern literature formed less than 100 years. If Sadegh Hedayat’s works (1902-1951) in prose and Nima Yushij’s works (1859-1959) in poetry are being considered as the beginning of Iran’s modern literature, two influential elements in the formation and expansion of Iran’s modern literature is recognizable from the very beginning: first, familiarizing with the West’s literature and accepting the effects of its literary trends and tendencies and Europe’s latest philosophical developments. Second, taking place a political development in Iran causing a dynamic field for the limitless exchange and presentation of literary and thoughƞul works. Iran’s Constitution Revolution (1906) that happened along side with the formation of the first National Assembly (Majlis) and the publication of many newspapers and new press provided a circle for promotion of the first generation of Iran’s authors. The first educated Iranian students’ return to Iran that have been sent to European, particularly French, universities led to the enNima Malek mohammadi The dream of globalization of Iran’s today literature Printed in IRAN PROFESSIONALS 38 Vol. 01 | Issue 01 | October 2015 try of modernist thoughts and of the translation of new literary works of West. Hedayat and Yushij both had educated from the French school of Saint Lui and they were familiar with the works of the Western authors. Meanwhile, Hedayat himself translated some works of Chekhov, KaŅa and so on to Farsi and wrote a long introduction to KaŅa’s works to introduce him to Farsispeaking readers. Blind Owl (1972) surrealistic-melancholy masterpiece of Hedayat, is the first modern Iranian novel and is a reaction to the Iran’s despotic society atmosphere after the defeat of Constitution Revolution causes. The novel narrator that is a symbol of Iran’s isolated and defeated intellectual understood that what a ‘dreadful abyss’ was existed between him and others and at that moment wrote to his shadow on the wall to know himself beter. From 1941 to 1953 that The Allies troops entered Iran, we witness a flourish in the political atmosphere and the beginning of the parties and independent newspapers activities as just between1941 to 1987 about 500 newspapers and magazines were being published. During this time, the first congress of Iranian authors in 1986 was held. Sadegh Choobak, Bozorg Alavi, Jalal Alahmad and Ibrahim Golestan are among the most prominent authors that started their job during this time. Deep social and political commitment in addition to the modern and innovative literary techniques which was due to familiarization to works of authors such as Hemingway, Steinbeck and Falkner, are the authors’ features of that time. In their works, Choobak and Alahmad fought superstitions and patriarchy and concentrated on the life style of the deprived and workers’ strata. Alavi placed great position in Toodeh party of Iran and published the first in-prison writings and in his stories described the personal and affectionate experiences of prison. The contrast between returned-from-abroad young people and recession and political oppression are other subjects of interests for Alavi and other authors of the same time. From the beginning of the 1340s, a new generation of authors and poets appeared gradually that while being familiar with the West’s authors’ works, have the experiences of Iran first generation modern poets and authors. Gradual decrease of the oppression prevailed after the Mordad 28th Coup also provided a proper social situation for the authors of the generation. From the view point of the properness of social situation, the decade led to Iran’s Revolution, from 1969 to 1979, can be called the golden period of Iran’s modern literature. During this decade, authors’ social and political influence increased remarkably and their works have been sold in numbers of 10,000. The novels of Souvashun (Simin Daneshvar), Shazde Ebtehaaj (Hushang Golshiri), Hamsayeha (neighbors) (Ahmad Mahmud), Jaye khaliye Saluj (Missing for Saluj) (Mahmood Dolatabadi) are among the most important works published in this period. Golshiri who became familiar with theoretical and critical ideas in the West like the idea of new novel and the works of authors like Allan Rab Griye, Margaret Doras and Borches through Isfehan literary circle and the magazine of that circle named Isfahan’s collection, in his novel, Shazde Ebtehaaj (1348), while narrating the decline of an aristocratic family, improves Hedayat’s achievements in the format and narrative form of novel writing for some steps. Daneshvar, as the first Iranian female author, in the realistic novel of Souvashun (1969) describes the chaos caused by the entering of The Allies forces to Fars province of Iran in the first half of 1983 and narrates the atempts of Zari, female protagonist of the novel, for keeping her family and home safe from the tornados of those years incidents. Daneshvar’s success in depicting of numerous characters and dynamic describing of accidents and incidents are this novel strength. Hamsayeha (neighbors) (1976) is a narration of Khaled’s youth and growing-up tome in Ahwaz and has the incidents pertaining to the nationalization of petroleum industry. A precise description of the main character of the novel about his first sexual experience to achieving political awareness are of Mahmud’s most important achievements in his realistic feat. In the fall of 1977, a year before the victory of Revolution, holding of Goethe poem-reading nights with the assistance of Iran’s authors’ society in the cultural center of German Embassy led to gatherings of 10,000 people there for hearing the lectures and poems of 60 poets and authors that mostly had works against the dominant censorship and oppressive atmosphere of that time. In 1981s, with the formation of a closed political situation, the start of Iran-Iraq war and limiting the publication of the works of some authors, Iran’s literature lost its dynamism and flourishing to a great extent. War and economic problems put literature out of people’s concerns lists. Meanwhile, immigration of many remarkable authors and poets due to their affiliation with opposition political groups caused a vacuum in Iran’s literary atmosphere. This dominant depressing atmosphere over Iran’s literature longed until about 1996. Mohammad Khatami’s presidency and reaching of formalistic movements to its peak that was accompanied with the publication of a lot of newspapers and magazines again created a suitable atmosphere for literature flourishing. A new generation of young authors by enjoying this new atmosphere published their works and some of the like Hossein Sanapoor and Zoya Pirzad while atracting the atention of critical and literary circles, succeeded in publishing their Printed in IRAN Vol. 01 | Issue 01 | October 2015 39 books to the numbers of 10,000 and in communicating with addresses that were in the sulks with the book market within past years. Private sector literary rewards organizations and literary pages of several papers which have been publish in those years played an important role in returning of flourishing to Iran’s literature. Beginning of various and numerous female authors is another achievement of that time in a way that more than half of total number of authors who published their first novel or story collection as well as winners of the private sector literary rewards were women. This trend that during Mahmood Ahmadinejad presidency (2005-2013) was hampered because of strictness of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in giving publication permit, closing of many independent newspapers, again during recent months by increasing of giving publication permit and creating a more suitable atmosphere for the activity of independent newspapers caused flourishing be back to Iran’s book market. In the Dream of Global Addressees Since the time Hedayat wrote his two short stories in French, Iranian authors had the dream of having international addresses and proceeding beyond the Farsi language borders. Some great waves of immigration during past 3 decades and increasing of the society communication with international cultural societies caused the atention to Iran’s literature and the translation of some works from Farsi to some European languages to increase during recent years. Political and geopolitical reasons also had their effects. This tendency is even apparent in the book titles like a collection of Iranian, Iraqi and North Korean authors publish in 2007 under the title of ‘the wicked axis’. During this time, a number of Iranian immigrated or second generation of immigration such as Azar Nafizi and Marjan Satrapi that write their works in their second language, succeeded to penetrate to the West’s main literature flow. Although some critics condemn these writers for presenting exotic and unreal picture of Iran to have more harmony with the expectations and the picture western addressees have in their minds about Iran. Hosseinizade, an author and critic, in an interview with B.B.C. site by referring to this point says: “Until the time that even in the 21st century they publish and ask us for books containing 18 and 19 century pictures, pictures of beaten and poor women, raped children, wicked men, dirty cities, Savak (Iran’s intelligence service before the Revolution), torture and so on so forth… no effort is made… just have look to translated books in recent years from Iran’s literature to English, German, French, Italian. Besides these works, some works of well-known authors residing in Iran are translated and published mostly by small publishers that do not have the possibility to advertize and therefore could not have a lot of addresses. Inappropriate translations and the lack of introductions and foot noted that can clear the backgrounds of the books were also elements deteriorated this situation. However, with the assistance of the efforts, now English addresses that are interested in Iran’s contemporary literature have access to a complete range of works of Iran’s different generation authors. Perhaps the best entrance to Iran’s contemporary literature for the western addresses is a collection published in 2006 from Arkid publication house in assistance with Pen Global Association. In this book 66 works from 43 Iranian poets and authors are collected containing poem, story and some parts of novels. This book presents a general view of Iranian outstanding writers within the past 3 decades and is of the most successful works ever published in English.


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