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.
reading lolita in tehran
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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.
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.
When the author, the professor, refuses to wear a veil in the university, she is expelled from the institute. Eventually, she begins to teach students, a few female students, at her home. The novel describes how the Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq War created a deep impact on the lives of the common people, particularly women, in Iran. The author presents the story through several personal anecdotes that she weaves together very skilfully. Ready Reference Treatise: Reading Lolita In Tehran Copyright Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Plot Overview Chapter Three: Major Characters Chapter Four: Complete Summary Chapter Five: Critical Analysis
A Study Guide for Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Literary Newsmakers for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Literary Newsmakers for Students for all of your research needs.
In this book, we have hand-picked the most sophisticated, unanticipated, absorbing (if not at times crackpot!), original and musing book reviews of "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books." Don't say we didn't warn you: these reviews are known to shock with their unconventionality or intimacy. Some may be startled by their biting sincerity; others may be spellbound by their unbridled flights of fantasy. Don't buy this book if: 1. You don't have nerves of steel. 2. You expect to get pregnant in the next five minutes. 3. You've heard it all.
In a globalizing age, studying American literature in isolation from the rest of the world seems less and less justified. But is the conceptual box of the nation dispensable? And what would American literature look like without it?Leading scholars take up this debate in Shades of the Planet, beginning not with the United States as center, but with the world as circumference. This reversed frame yields a surprising landscape, alive with traces of West Africa, Eastern Europe, Iran, Iraq, India, China, Mexico, and Australia. The Broadway musical Oklahoma! has aboriginal antecedents; Black English houses an African syntax; American slavery consorts with the Holocaust; Philip Roth keeps company with Milan Kundera; the crime novel moves south of the border; and R. P. Blackmur lectures in Japan. A national literature becomes haunted by the world when that literature is seen extending to the Pacific, opening up to Islam, and accompanying African-American authors as they travel. Highlighting American literature as a fold in a planet-wide fabric, this pioneering volume transforms the field, redrawing its institutional as well as geographical map.The contributors are Rachel Adams, Jonathan Arac, Homi K. Bhabha, Lawrence Buell, Wai Chee Dimock, Susan Stanford Friedman, Paul Giles, David Palumbo-Liu, Ross Posnock, Joseph Roach, and Eric J. Sundquist.
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.
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.