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Representation of Female War Martyrs in Contemporary Persian Novels

Thursday 16 February 2017
WHAT's NEW!? Spring Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Representation of Female War Martyrs in Contemporary Persian Novels

A significant proportion of Persian novels written about the Iran–Iraq War (198088) focus on male-centric themes that highlight the roles played by men during the conflict and their heroic acts on the battlefield, while very little attention is paid to the martyrdom of Iranian women. Esmāʻil Fasih (19352009) stands at the forefront of Iranian war writers. His postwar novels are regarded as a turning point in Iranian prose war literature because they principally concern the sacrifice and martyrdom of Iranian women over the course of the Iran–Iraq War. This paper discusses whether or not martyrdom is a gendered theme, and the reasons why many writers, avoid writing about the martyrdom of women. Furthermore it examines the representation of female martyrs in Fasih’s postwar novels by emphasizing their experiences and outlooks on the war. It also illustrates Fasih’s view as a male author on female martyrs in Iran.

About Saeedeh Shahnahpur

Saeedeh Shahnahpur

Saeedeh Shahnahpur is currently a lecturer in Persian Studies at Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS). Her research interests primarily focus on the literature of twentieth-century Iran, and the political, social, and cultural transformations through which cotemporary literary discourse developed. Saeedeh defended her dissertation entitled “Words and Laments: A Narratological Analysis of Esmāʻil Fasih’s War Novel, The Winter of 1983 (Zemestān-e 62),” in September 2016 at Leiden University. This dissertation analyzes Esmāʻil Fasih’s wartime novel, The Winter of 1983, by using western narratological theories to illustrate how this novel differs from other novels written during Iran–Iraq War, since it explores numerous themes and perspectives on the war not explored by the ‘typical’ war novels of this period. She has also published several articles on Esmāʻil Fasih and his works.

This lecture is part of the WHAT's NEW?! Spring Lecture Series

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