Persian in Translation


History of Iranian Literature

This course introduces the many stages of Persian literature historically. History of Iranian Literature is a study in the marriage of thought, milieu, genius, and multi-faceted poetics.

Contemporary Persian Literature in Translation

This course examines the evolution of twentieth-century Persian prose by charting the development of two features that distinguish many modernist works in the Iranian context: 1) recourse to representations of western cultures as a means of social critique and/or self-appraisal; 2) transformation of “imported” western genres. Readings include works by several of Iran’s most prominent authors: Sadeq Hedayat, Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Simin Daneshvar, Goli Taraqqi, and Shahrnush Parsipur.

Iranian Women Writers

In the old and turbulent history of Iran, women have relied on words as their weapon of choice to struggle for peace and justice.  Their foremother, Scheherazade, knew the futility of fighting injustice with violence.  Like Scheherazade, Iranian women writers continue to find solace and strength in the limitless power of words. Since the mid-nineteenth century, Iranian women writers have desegregated a predominantly all-male literary tradition.  They have also been at the forefront of a bloodless social movement.  At home and in Diaspora, they have produced highly acclaimed bestsellers, touching the hearts and minds of an international reading public on an unprecedented scale.  This course studies this inspiring presence on the world stage through a variety of genre and, in particular, life narratives.

PETR 3320/5320 - Life Narratives & Iranian Women Writers

This seminar examines life narratives and other forms of literary output by Iranian women writers. We will examine the ways these writers have desegregated a predominantly all-male literary tradition, as well as their arrival at the forefront of a bloodless social movement. Some of the genres to be investigated include novels, short stories, poetry, autobiographies, memoirs, and films.

Credits: 3

PETR 3322/5322 - The Life and Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzād

This course focuses on the life and art of Forugh Farrokhzad in a spectrum of genres that includes poetry, short stories, travel narratives, literary criticism, essays, and films by and about her. Although from the beginning of her literary career, Farrokhzad was a daring, often irreverent explorer of taboo topics, she was also deeply rooted in the Iranian culture. We study the body of her work to better understand the subversive nature of its subject matter, technique, or point of view, as well as its simple, unpretentious, and lucid language. We also examine the rhetoric and poetics of sex segregation, voice, choice, visibility, and mobility in order to gain a more coherent view of the social, political, and cultural realities of Iran in the 1950s and 60s.

Credits: 3