We bring you Dr. Many members of his extended family were important state officials, political leaders and army generals, both in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of his short stories are in a critical realist style and are regarded as some of the best written in 20th century Iran. But his most original contribution was the use of modernist, more often surrealist, techniques in Persian fiction.

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We bring you Dr. Many members of his extended family were important state officials, political leaders and army generals, both in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of his short stories are in a critical realist style and are regarded as some of the best written in 20th century Iran. But his most original contribution was the use of modernist, more often surrealist, techniques in Persian fiction.

Thus, he was not only a great writer, but also the founder of modernism in Persian fiction. Having still not finished his studies, he surrendered his scholarship and returned home in the summer of This provides a clue to his personality in general, and his perfectionist outlook in particular, which sometimes resulted in nervous paralysis. They were all modern- minded and critical of the literary establishment, both for its social traditionalism and intellectual classicism.

In the early s, Hedayat drifted between clerical jobs. In he went to Bombay at the invitation of Sheen Partaw, who was then an Iranian diplomat in that city. Predictably, he had run afoul of the official censors, and in was made to give a pledge not to publish again. That was why when he later issued the first, limited edition of The Blind Owl in Bombay, he wrote on the title page that it was not for publication in Iran, predicting the possibility of a copy finding its way to Iran and falling into the hands of the censors.

During the year in Bombay, he learnt the ancient Iranian language Pahlavi among the Parsee Zoroastrian community, wrote a number of short stories and published The Blind Owl in 50 duplicated copies, most of which he distributed among friends outside Iran.

It was literary work among a small group of relatively young and modern intellectuals, including Nima Yushij , the founder of modernist Persian poetry. He might well have regarded that as the most satisfactory post he ever had. After the Allied invasion of Iran and abdication of Reza Shah in , the Office of Music and its journal were closed down, and Hedayat ended up as a translator at the College of Fine Arts, where he was to remain till the end of his life.

Even though the country had been occupied by foreign powers, there were high hopes and great optimism for democracy and freedom upon the collapse of the absolute and arbitrary government. Hedayat did not join the party even in the beginning, but had sympathy for it and had many friends among Tudeh intellectuals. This was a significant contribution to the depression he suffered in the late s, which eventually led to his suicide in Paris in There were signs that his depression was deepening day by day.

Through his letters to friends one may observe, not far underneath the surface, his anger and despair, his acute sensitivity, his immeasurable suffering, his continuously darkening view of his own country and its people, and his condemnation of life. Through them, perhaps more than his fiction, one may see the three aspects of his predicament: the personal tragedy, the social isolation and the universal alienation. When one has lived the life of animals which are constantly being chased, what is there to rebuild?

I have taken my decision. One must struggle in this cataract of shit until disgust with living suffocates us. I am too disgusted with everything to make any effort; one must remain in the shit until the end. First, the romantic nationalist fiction. They reflect sentiments arising from the Pan-Persianist ideology and cult which swept over the Iranian modernist elite after the First World War.

But many of his critical realist short stories could easily be adapted for the stage with good effect. To varying degrees, both satire and irony are used in these stories, though few of them could be accurately described as satirical fiction. They tend to reflect aspects of the lives and traditional beliefs of the contemporary urban lower-middle classes with ease and accuracy. Wretchedness and superstition are combined with sadness, joy, hypocrisy and occasionally criminal behaviour.

This was in the tradition set by Jamalzadeh though he had more sympathy for his characters , enhanced by Hedayat and passed on to Chubak and Al-e Ahmad in their earlier works. He was a master of wit, and wrote both verbal and dramatic satire. It takes the form of short stories, novels, as well as short and long anecdotes. Superficial appearances and critical propaganda notwithstanding, it is much less a satire on the ways of the people of the bazaar and much more of a merciless attack on leading conservative politicians.

Indeed, the real-life models for the Hajji of the title were supplied by two important old-school and, as it happens, by no means the worst politicians. Hedayat would have had a lasting and prominent position in the annals of Persian literature on account of what I have so far mentioned.

What has given him his unique place, nevertheless, is his psycho-fiction, of which The Blind Owl is the best and purest example. But most of the other psycho-fictional stories — e. Rather, it reflects the essentially subjective nature of the stories, which brings together the psychological, the ontological and the metaphysical in an indivisible whole.

Most human beings are no better than rajjaleh rabble , and the very few who are better fail miserably to rise up to reach perfection or redemption. Women are either lakkateh harlots , or they are Fereshteh, that is, angelic apparitions who wilt and disintegrate upon appearance, though this is only true of women in the psycho-fictions, women of similar cultural background to the author, not those of lower classes in his critical realist stories.

As a man born into an extended family of social and intellectual distinction, a modern as well as modernist intellectual, a gifted writer steeped in the most advanced Persian as well as European culture, and with a psyche which demanded the highest standards of moral and intellectual excellence, Hedayat was bound to carry, as he did, an enormous burden, which very few individuals could suffer with equanimity, especially as he bore the effects of the clash of the old and the new, and the Persian and the European, such as few Iranians have experienced.

He lived an unhappy life, and died an unhappy death. It was perhaps the inevitable cost of the literature which he bequeathed to humanity.

By Dr.



Arataxe What a wonderful review. As I became a novelist in my own right, I grew less afraid of its powers and more attuned to its mechanics, but I never stopped feeling wholly humbled by its profoundly radical aesthetics. Persian literature novels Books by Sadegh Hedayat Iranian speculative fiction novels Persian-language novels. These are the same materials that went into the blnd dream. The first, entitled Kurudan Moongawas translated by the famous novelist late Vilasini. Much of this work of fiction is like a spreading sore, the pain it causes sharp and relentless, dulled only by the fog of opium and dream which makes it bearable.


Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind Owl: An Introduction

He was born in and he lived a troubled life which ended in with his suicide in Paris. His most celebrated novel, The Blind Owl has made an impact far beyond Iranian literary circles and has drawn the attention of Western critics. A classic of modern Iranian literature, this edition is presented to contemporary audiences with a new introduction by Porochista Khakpour, one of the most exciting voices from a new generation of Iranian-American authors. Through a series of intricately woven events that revolve around the same set of mental images—an old man with a spine-chilling laugh, four cadaverous black horses with rasping coughs, a hidden urn of poisoned wine—the narrator is compelled to record his obsession with a beautiful woman even as it drives him further into frenzy and madness. It will be haunting, harrowing, and not without humor. Sadegh Hedayat, through the eyes of his young Iranian opium addict, has provided a penetrating and unflinching look into all of us. We owe him a debt of gratitude for this work of art.


The Blind Owl

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of such without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. We had it all: walls and walls of the apartment I grew up in in suburban Los Angeles were lined with books, Persian and English. I was barely double-digits when I first heard the title Buf-i Kur. When I inquired about it my father said it was a masterpiece of Persian literature, written before he was born. What was it about?

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Sadeq Hedayat

In Books The Blind Owl has been one of the rarest books that impressed me deeply since I first read it. The Blind Owl will make you want to read specific sentences over and over again. It will make you feel like you are reading something out of this world. And Sadegh Hedayat will become one of the people you would wish to know. Advertisements Sadegh Hedayat and his reminder Sadegh Hedayat, who lived between , is one of the modern authors of Iranian literature. The Blind Owl has been translated into many languages because it is an exquisite book. It influenced a broad audience in the languages in which it was translated and gave the author the reputation he deserved.

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