Past in Perspective

2018-09-03T22:24:21+05:00

The presence of death annihilates all superstitions. We are the children of death, and it is death that rescues us from the deceptions of life. In the midst of life he call us and summons us to him.

–Sadiq Hedayat

Sadiq Hedayat’s masterpiece underwent

censorship after the Iranian Revolution.

 

Sadiq Hedayat is better known for his literary work Būf-e kūr. Būf-e kūr (The Blind Owl) was first distributed from Bombay in a stenciled edition in the author’s hand at his expense in late 1936 or early 1937. Hedayat had presumably finished writing the novel during residence of less than a year there. Būf-e kūr was serialized in a Tehran weekly called Īrān in the fall of 1941, shortly after the Allied occupation of Iran and the abdication and exile of Reżā Shah Pahlavī. At the end of that year it appeared in book form and has been much reprinted since. Owing to French and English translations in the 1950s, Hedayat’s enigmatic masterpiece is the one modernist Iranian literary work to achieve any appreciable audience beyond the Persian-speaking world.

Psychological, biographical, and other readings of Būf-e kūr in Iran and abroad have further broadened bases for its appreciation. But, after 1980, as a result of the banning of Hedayat’s works in the Islamic Republic of Iran, research has been mostly Western and concerned chiefly with the narrative’s culture-specific features and Hedayat’s Western sources of inspiration.

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