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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Postgraduate Course: Modern Persian Literature and 'Modern' Iran (PG Version) (IMES11070)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course we will study modern Iranian culture and history through the works of some of the key authors of modern Persian literature in English translation. The course does not require prior knowledge of Iran or Persian literature. The course will cover the period from the early twentieth century down to the present. It will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of modern Iran through short stories, novels, poems and graphic novels. Through these various forms of literary works, we will examine some of the key historical events as well as social challenges that Iran has experienced, including modernity, westernisation, revolution, war and the role of women. This course is jointly taught with undergraduate students.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact IMES Teaching Office before register (
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 24, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 3000 word main essay (65%);
1000 word minor assignment (25%);
Class participation (10%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Give an advanced overview of the history and development of modern Persian literature.
  2. Show an understanding of the social and historical developments within modern Iran and their relationship to developments in modern Persian literature
  3. Engage critically with trends modern Persian literature and conduct independent research related to the topics and themes of this module.
  4. Develop and apply analytical skills to undertake secondary-source research and present oral and written work clearly and effectively.
Reading List
1. Likely Required Readings (all works to be made available via Virtual Learning Environment except as noted)

a) Works of Sadeq Hedayat (d. 1951)

Short Stories:
Dash Akol
The Dead End
Three Drops of Blood
The Stray Dog
The Woman Who Lost Her Man

The Blind Owl

b) Works of Samad-e Behrangi (d. 1968)

Short Stories:

The Bald Pigeon Keeper¿
The Old Woman and Her Golden Chicken¿
The Little Sugar-Beet Vemdor¿
24 Restless Hours¿
The Little Black Fish¿

c) Works of Jalal Al-e Ahmad (d. 1969)

Short Stories:
The Unwanted Woman¿
Seh Tar¿

The School Principal
Nun and the Pen

Autobiographical Wortk:
Lost in a Crowd

Social Criticism:

d) Works of Simin Daneshvar

Short Stories:
Jalal's SunsetAuthor(s): Simin Daneshvar, Farzaneh Milani, Jo-Anne HartSource: Iranian Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Winter, 1986), pp. 47-63.

Daneshvar¿s playhouse : a collection of stories (Washington, D.C : Mage Publishers, 1989) ML
A Persian requiem : a novel (London : Peter Halban, 1991) ML
Or, Savushun : a novel about modern Iran (Washington, D.C : Mage Publishers, c1990) ML
Sutra & other stories (Washington, D.C. : Mage Publishers, 1994) ML

2. Supplemental Bibliography

M. Boroujerdi, Iranian Intellectuals and the West, the Tormented Triumph of Nativism (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996). ML

D. P. Brookshaw, ¿Revivification of an Ossified Genre? Simin Behbahani and the Persian Ghazal', Iranian Studies,41/1 (2002) ,75 ¿ 90.

M. Cisco, 'Eternal Recurrence in The Blind Owl', Iranian Studies, 43/4(2010) 471 ¿ 488 .

J. Clinton, ¿A Bibliography of Modern Persian Literature in English Translation¿, Iranian Studies, 19/3-4 (1986), 327-346.

H. Dabashi, Theology of discontent : the ideological foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (New York: New York University Press, 1993), Chapter 1 on Al-e Ahmad.

M. R. Ghanoonparvar, In a Persian mirror : images of the West and Westerners in Iranian fiction (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1993). ML

M. R. Ghanoonparvar, Prophets of doom : literature as a socio-political phenomenon in modern Iran (Lanham, MD : University Press of America, c1984). ML

M. R. Ghanoonparvar, Reading Chubak (Costa Mesa: Mazda, 2005). ML

M. R. Ghanoonparvar,¿The Storyteller's Canvas: The Life and Fiction of Simin Behbahani¿, Iranian Studies, 41/1 (2008), 37-45

B. Hanson, ¿The ¿Westoxication¿ of Iran: Depictions and Reactions of Behrangi, Al-e Ahmad and Shariati¿, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 15/1 (1983), 1-23. (Web CT)

M. Hillmann, ed., Hedayat's 'The Blind Owl' Forty Years After (Austin: University of Texas, 1978). ML

M. Hillmann, ¿The Modernist Trend in Persian Literature and Its Social Impact¿ Iranian Studies, 15/1 (1982), pp. 7-29.

M. Kamrava, Iran¿s Intellectual Revolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ML

H. Kamshad, Modern Persian Prose Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966). ML

M.M. Khorrami, ed., and transl., Another sea, another shore : Persian stories of migration (Northampton, Mass. : Interlink, 2004). ML

M.M. Khorrami, ed., and transl., A world between : poems, short stories, and essays by Iranian-Americans (New York : George Braziller, 1999). ML

M.M. Khorrami, et al., eds and transl., A feast in the mirror : stories by contemporary Iranian women (Boulder, Colo: Lynne Reinner, 2000). ML

M.M. Khorrami, Modern reflections of classical traditions in Persian fiction (Lewiston, Lampeter : Edwin Mellen Press, 2003). ML

F. Lewis, et al., ed and transl., In a voice of their own : a collection of stories by Iranian women written since the Revolution of 1979 (Costa Mesa: Mazda, 1996). ML

H. Moayyad, ed., Stories from Iran, a Chicago Anthology, 1921-1991 (Washington DC: Mage Publishers, 1991) ML

F. Milani, ¿Power, Prudence and Print: Censorship and Simin Danashvar¿, Iranian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2/4, Sociology of the Iranian Writer (Spring - Autumn, 1985), pp. 325-347

A. Pistor-Hatam, ¿Writing Back? Jalal Al-e Ahmad's (1923-69) Reflections on Selected Periods of Iranian History¿, Iranian Studies, 40/5 (2007), 559 ¿ 578. (Web CT)

T. Ricks, ed., Critical perspectives on modern Persian literature, (Washington, D.C. : Three Continents Press, c1984). ML

M. Southgate, tr., Modern Persian Short Stories (Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1980). ML

K. Talattof, ¿Iranian Women's Literature: From Pre-Revolutionary Social Discourse to Post-Revolutionary Feminism¿, IJMES, 29/4 (1997), 531-558.

K. Talatoof, 'I Will Rebuild You, Oh My Homeland': Simin Behbahani's Work and Sociopolitical Discourse¿, Iranian Studies, 41/I (2008), 19-36.

Special Issues of Iranian Studies:
Vol. 18, No. 2/4, Sociology of the Iranian Writer (Spring - Autumn, 1985)
Vol. 30, No. 3/4, Selections from the Literature of Iran, 1977-1997 (Summer - Autumn, 1997),
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements PG Version of IMES10061
Course organiserProf Andrew Newman
Tel: (0131 6)50 4178
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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