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The Education of Women and The Vices of Men: Two Qajar Tracts (Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East)

September 29, 2017 by  

Hasan Javadi

At the close of the nineteenth century, modern ideas of democracy and equality were slowly beginning to take hold in Iran. Exposed to European ideas about law, equality, and education, upper- and middle-class men and women increasingly questioned traditional ideas about the role of women and their place in society. In apparent response to this emerging independence of women, an anonymous author penned The Education of Women, a small booklet published in 1889. This guide, aimed at husbands as much as wives, instructed women on how to behave toward their husbands, counseling them on proper dress, intimacy, and subservience. 

One woman, Bibi Khanom Astarabadi, took up the author’s challenge and wrote a refutation of his arguments. An outspoken mother of seven, Astarabadi established the first school for girls in Tehran and often advocated for the rights of women. In “The Vices of Men”, she details the flaws of men, offering a scathing diatribe on the nature of men’s behavior toward women. 

Astarabadi mixes the traditional florid style of the time with street Persian, slang words, and bawdy language. This new edition faith¬fully preserves the style and irreverent tone of the essays. The two texts, together with an introduction and afterword situating both within the customs, language, and social life of Iran, offer a rare candid dialogue between men and women in late nineteenth-century Persia.

 

Farewell Shiraz: An Iranian Memoir

of Revolution and Exile

Cyrus Kadivar

(June 2017)

In October 1999 during a trip to Cairo, Cyrus Kadivar, an exiled Iranian living in London, visited the tomb of the last shah and opened a Pandora’s box. Haunted by nostalgia for a bygone era, he recalled a protected and idyllic childhood in the fabled city of Shiraz and his coming of age during the 1979 Iranian revolution. Back in London, he reflected on what had happened to him and his family after their uprooting and decided to conduct his own investigation into why he lost his country. He spent the next ten years seeking out witnesses who would shed light on the last days of Pahlavi rule. Among those he met were a former empress, ex-courtiers, disaffected revolutionaries, and the bereaved relatives of those who perished in the cataclysm. In Farewell Shiraz, Kadivar tells the story of his family and childhood against the tumultuous backdrop of twentieth-century Iran, from the 1905-1907 Constitutional Revolution to the fall of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, before presenting accounts of his meetings with key witnesses to the Shah’s fall and the rise of Khomeini. Each of the people interviewed provides a richly detailed picture of the momentous events that took place and the human drama behind them. Combining exquisite vignettes with rare testimonials and first-hand interviews, Farewell Shiraz draws us into a sweeping yet often intimate account of a vanished world and offers a compelling investigation into a political earthquake whose reverberations still live with us today.

Cyrus Kadivar was born in Minnesota to Iranian-French parents. He grew up during the Shah’s reign in the Persian city of Shiraz. At sixteen he and his family were uprooted by the 1979 revolution. He has since worked as a banker, freelance journalist, and a political risk consultant and lives in London.

 

Shahnameh 

(audiobook with introduction by Francis Ford Coppola)

An audio version of the Shahnameh, the epic masterpiece of Persian poet Ferdowsi, has been released in English with an introduction by U.S. filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola in the United States. American voice actor Marc Thompson has narrated the stories based on the latest translation by Ahmad Sadri published by Quantuck Lane Press in 2013, Kingorama, the U.S.-based publisher of “Shahnameh, the Epic of the Persian Kings”, has announced.

In his introduction, Coppola, one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century who is mostly known for his classics such as “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now”, says, “Creating this audiobook breathes new life into the Shahnameh stories.”

“It is an immersive experience, making these ancient tales tangible for those who are new to these incredible heroic stories and a delight for those already familiar with the poem.”

The sonic landscape designs have been created by the New York-based Iranian graphic artist Hamid Rahmanian, and Melissa Hibbard was the editorial director of the project.

 

Gathas The Message of Zarathushtra

Comments and Free Translation

Daryoush Jahanian

(۲۰۱۷)

 If one is looking for a book on the words of Zarathushtra this would be the “Go To” reference. The author begins his book describing the need to comprehend certain issues in order to understand and or comprehend the Gathas. If you were unaware as to what the Gathas is, it is described as  the genuine words of Zarathushtra  that survived time. During the history of Iran, despite the foreign invasions, one third of the original Avestan books remain, with the Gathas of Zarathushtra  being complete and in tact.

 The book is broken down into readable phrases with explanations that are easy to understand.

From the read you will be able to tell the commitment this author has to Zarathushtra and the words of the Gathas.

 

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