Consumed with death, decay, sexual obsession and frustration. After finishing the last page it sits heavy in the gut. And then, as you start to unwind the experience, it takes on an eerie, impressive, surreal quality—no less dark—but unlikely to easily slip from the imagination once wedged there. A classic of twentieth century Iranian literature, The Blind Owl was composed during the latter years of the oppressive reign of Reza Shah and first published in in Bombay where the author, writer and intellectual Sadegh Hedayat was studying. The influence of writers like Jung, Rilke, Poe and most notably, Kafka is strong, but this absurdist tale seems to be driven by its own cluster of existential horrors.
|Published (Last):||23 November 2006|
|PDF File Size:||7.68 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||15.60 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
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why when he later issued the first, limited edition of The Blind Owl in Bombay, he wrote on the title page that it was not for publication in Iran, predicting the possibility of a copy finding its way to Iran and falling into the hands of the censors.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.
Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind Owl: An Introduction
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.
The Blind Owl – Sadegh Hedayat
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.
Sadegh Hedayat Quotes