Other books byAzar Nafisi
Reading Lolita in Tehran
A Memoir in Books
Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azar Nafisi, a bold and inspired teacher, secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; some had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they removed their veils and began to speak more freely–their stories intertwining with the novels they were reading by Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, as fundamentalists seized hold of the universities and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the women in Nafisi’s living room spoke not only of the books they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Azar Nafisi’s luminous masterwork gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny, and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.
In 1956, Inge Morath (1923-2002) traveled to the Middle East for Holiday magazine. She wore the traditional chador and traveled alone most of the time. "It was difficult to photograph there as a woman," she later recorded. In this body of work, Morath's subjects range from politics and religion to work and commerce, from the shah's palace to the nomad's tent to Zoroaster's sacred shrine. She photographed Iran with the keen vision of an anthropologist, examining religious rituals, costuming, work, sport, music, art and theater in order to document "the continuity--or lack of it--between past and present," as she later put it. Morath's work in Iran presaged her later work in Spain, China and Russia, creating an extensive document of the clash between modernity and tradition in the postwar Middle East. Retrospectively, Inge Morath: Iran recalls a land and a culture that have been profoundly transformed since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is a window into the past that provides a singular and timely perspective on Iran in the present.
Shahnameh (Classics Deluxe Edition)
The Persian Book of Kings (Penguin Classics...
The great national epic of Persiathe most complete English-language edition and definitive translation by Dick Davis, available in a deluxe edition by Penguin Classics. Wherever Persian influence has spread, the stories of the Shahnameh become deeply embedded in the culture, as amply attested by their appearance in such works as The Kite Runner and the love poems of Rumi and Hafez. Among the greatest works of world literature, this prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi in the late tenth century, tells the story of pre-Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion in the seventh century. The sweep and psychological depth of the Shahnameh is nothing less than magnificent as it recounts classic tales like the tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab. Now Dick Davis, our pre-eminent translator from the Persian” (Washington Post), presents a comprehensive translation of Ferdowsi’s masterpiece in an elegant combination of prose and verse, allowing the poetry of the Shanameh to sing its own tales directly, interspersed sparingly with clearly-marked explanations to ease along modern readers.
My Uncle Napoleon
The most beloved Iranian novel of the twentieth century “God forbid, I’ve fallen in love with Layli!” So begins the farce of our narrator’s life, one spent in a large extended Iranian family lorded over by the blustering, paranoid patriarch, Dear Uncle Napoleon. When Uncle Napoleon’s least-favorite nephew falls for his daughter, Layli, family fortunes are reversed, feuds fired up and resolved, and assignations attempted and thwarted. First published in Iran in the 1970s and adapted into a hugely successful television series, this beloved novel is now “Suggested Reading” in Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran. My Uncle Napoleon is a timeless and universal satire of first love and family intrigue.