Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi's bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transformative power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life's darkest moments.
Comparing Reading Lolita in Tehran and Persepolis (1) and (2)
Author: Emira Derbel
Pubpsher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Category: Biography & Autobiography
This book investigates the various reasons behind the elevation of the memoir, previously categorized as a marginalized form of life writing that denudes the private space of women, especially in Western Asian countries such as Iran. Through a comparative investigation of Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (1) and (2), the book examines the way both narrative and graphic memoirs offer possibilities for Iranian women to reclaim new territory, transgress a post-traumatic revolution, and reconstruct a new model of womanhood that evades socio-political and religious restrictions. Exile is conceptualized as empowering rather than a continued status of loss and disillusionment, and the liminality of both women writers turns into a space of artistic production. The book also resists the New Orientalist scope within which Reading Lolita in Tehran, more than Persepolis, has been misread. In order to reject these allegations, this work sheds light on the representation of Iranian women in Reading Lolita in Tehran, not as weak victims held captive by a totalitarian version of Islam, but as active participants rewriting their stories through the liberating power of the memoir. The comparative approach between narrative and comic memoirs is a fruitful way of displaying similar experiences of disillusionment, loss, return, and exile through different techniques. The common thread uniting both memoirs is their zeal to reclaim Iranian women’s agency and strength over subservience and passivity.
The foundational text for the acclaimed New York Times and international best seller Reading Lolita in Tehran The ruler of a totalitarian state seeks validation from a former schoolmate, now the nation’s foremost thinker, in order to access a cultural cache alien to his regime. A literary critic provides commentary on an unfinished poem that both foretells the poet’s death and announces the critic’s secret identity as the king of a lost country. The greatest of Vladimir Nabokov’s enchanters—Humbert—is lost within the antithesis of a fairy story, in which Lolita does not hold the key to his past but rather imprisons him within the knowledge of his distance from that past. In this precursor to her international best seller Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi deftly explores the worlds apparently lost to Nabokov’s characters, their portals of access to those worlds, and how other worlds hold a mirror to Nabokov’s experiences of physical, linguistic, and recollective exile. Written before Nafisi left the Islamic Republic of Iran, and now published in English for the first time and with a new introduction by the author, this book evokes the reader’s quintessential journey of discovery and reveals what caused Nabokov to distinctively shape and reshape that journey for the author.
In a direct, frank, and intimate exploration of Iranian literature and society, scholar, teacher, and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz challenges popular perceptions of Iran as a society bereft of vitality and joy. Her fresh perspective on present-day Iran provides a rare insight into this rich culture alive with artistic expression but virtually unknown to most Americans. Keshavarz introduces readers to two modern Iranian women writers whose strong and articulate voices belie the stereotypical perception of Iranian women as voiceless victims in a country of villains. She follows with a lively critique of the recent best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which epitomizes what Keshavarz calls the "New Orientalist narrative," a view marred by stereotype and prejudice more often tied to current geopolitical conflicts than to an understanding of Iran. Blending in firsthand glimpses of her own life--from childhood memories in 1960s Shiraz to her present life as a professor in America--Keshavarz paints a portrait of Iran depicting both cultural depth and intellectual complexity. With a scholar's expertise and a poet's hand, she helps amplify the powerful voices of contemporary Iranians and leads readers toward a deeper understanding of the country's past and present.
From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today. Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating follow-up, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society. Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her at a reading, she energetically responds to those who say fiction has nothing to teach us today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, she invites us to join her as citizens of her 'Republic of Imagination', a country where the villains are conformity, and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.
This book studies the transnational nature of American cultural production, specifically literature, film, and music, examining how these serve as ways of perceiving the United States and American culture. The volume’s engagement with the reality of transnationalism focuses on material examples that allow for an exploration of concrete manifestations of this phenomenon and trace its development within and outside the United States. Contributors consider the ways in which artifacts or manifestations of American culture have traveled and what has happened to the texts in the process, inviting readers to examine the nature of the transnational turn by highlighting the cultural products that represent and produce it. Emphasis on literature, film, and music allows for nuanced perspectives on the way a global phenomenon is enacted in American texts within the U.S, also illustrating the commodification of American culture as these texts travel. The volume therefore serves as a coherent examination of the critical and creative repercussions of transnationalism, and, by juxtaposing a discussion of creativity with critical paradigms, unveils how transnationalism has become one of the constitutive modes of cultural production in the 21st century.
In an age of world citizenship, literary scholarship is focusing increasingly on texts which communicate effectively over cultural lines. Advocating a planetary approach to contemporary literature, this critical text examines eight novels from eight cultures. The writers discussed are Julian Barnes, Magda Szabo, Abraham B. Yehoshua, Ian McEwan, W.G. Sebald, Murakami Haruki, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Azar Nafisi. Focusing on the authors’ encouragement to meditate on life’s most pressing issues, the essays here invite us to reevaluate postmodernism as a current category.
William Faulkner in Context explores the environment that conditioned Faulkner's creative work. This book provides a broad and authoritative framework that will help readers to better understand this widely read yet challenging writer. Each essay offers a critical assessment of Faulkner's work as it relates to such topics as genre, reception, and the significance of place. Although Faulkner dwelt in his native Mississippi throughout his life, his visits to cities like New Orleans, Paris, and Los Angeles profoundly shaped his early career. Inextricable from the dramatic upheavals of the twentieth century, Faulkner's writing was deeply affected by the Great War, the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement. In this volume, a host of renowned scholars shed light on this enigmatic writer and render him accessible to students and researchers alike.
Release on 2012-08-20 | by Beau Beausoleil,Deema Shehabi
Author: Beau Beausoleil,Deema Shehabi
Pubpsher: PM Press
Iraqis and international poets and writers give their thoughts on a 2007 bombing that shattered an Iraqi book-selling community and explore how it threatened the free exchange of ideas in the country. Original.
Azar Nafisi, author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, now gives us a stunning personal story of growing up in Iran, memories of her life lived in thrall to a powerful and complex mother, against the background of a country's political revolution.A girl's pain over family secrets; a young woman's discovery of the power of sensuality in literature; the price a family pays for freedom in a country beset by political upheaval - these and other threads are woven together in this beautiful memoir. Nafisi's intelligent and complicated mother, disappointed in her dreams of leading an important and romantic life, created mesmerising fictions about herself, her family, and her past.But her daughter soon learned that these narratives of triumph hid as much as they revealed.Nafisi's father escaped into narratives of another kind, enchanting his children with classic tales like the Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings.When her father began to see other women, young Azar began to keep his secrets from her mother.Nafisi's complicity in these childhood dramas ultimately led her to resist remaining silent about other personal - as well as political, cultural, and social - injustices. Reaching back in time to reflect on other generations in the Nafisi family, Things I've Been Silent About is also a powerful historical portrait of a family that spans the many periods of change leading up to the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79.It is, finally, a deeply personal reflection on women's choices, and how Azar Nafisi found the inspiration for a different kind of life.This unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland is a stunning book that readers will embrace, a new triumph from an author who is a modern master of the memoir.