Iranian Film and Persian Fiction

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Performing Arts Series 12
Availability: In stock
Published: 2016
Page #: xvi + 246
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1568593418
bibliography, index, notes


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Quick Overview

In this book, Prof. M. R. Ghanoonparvar explores the differences between the narrative strategies of Iranian filmmakers and modernist Persian fiction writers. While most published studies on Iranian cinema and Persian fiction focus either on literature or on film separately and only address the topic of the present study in passing, in this book, the author examines the relationship, similarities, and differences between these two modes of storytelling. After an overview of modern Persian novels, short stories, and Iranian cinema, various chapters address issues related to the art of storytelling. In a chapter entitled “Fiction in Film,” the author focuses on filmmakers’ adaptations of modern Persian novels, novellas, and short stories and the differences between the original works of fiction and their cinematic adaptations. Since filmmakers work with the medium of sound, pictures, and spoken words, working within that medium, they inevitably must transform a story and reshape it through an artistic metamorphosis. This chapter also explores the question of the dependence of film on written fiction, in addition to the questions of the faithfulness and the artistic success or failure of adaptations. In another chapter, “Film in Fiction,” the argument is set forth that as cinema gradually became the dominant medium of storytelling, writers of fiction were influenced by its storytelling strategies and structures; and in the same way that one learns a language, fiction writers also learned narrative techniques from this new medium and adapted visual film techniques, including pan shots, freeze frames, and slow motion, and cinematic concepts such as sound effects and diegetic sound. In light of the most important events in Iran’s recent history, namely the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War, the ensuing chapters explore the topic of war within the context of the revolution in the works of fiction writers and filmmakers. During and after the war, a large number of books of fiction and many films were devoted to the subject, both by those who experienced the war-front firsthand and by those who suffered its side effects. Stories and films were written and produced not only by supporters of the revolution and the regime but also by their detractors. While the first group’s works during the war served as propaganda for the regime and after the war the works of the same group represented an effort to sanctify the memory of the war that it called the “Sacred Defense” in addition to its “martyrs,” the second group’s stories and films functioned to some degree as anti-war propaganda. This book is written essentially from the perspective of a teacher of literature, avoiding the jargon of not only literary theory and criticism but also that of film criticism.


M. R. Ghanoonparvar

M. R. Ghanoonparvar is Professor Emeritus of Persian and Comparative Literature at The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Ghanoonparvar has also taught at the University of Isfahan, the University of Virginia, and the University of Arizona, and was a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Michigan. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Teachers of Persian (2021) as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to presenting Persian culinary arts to the non-Iranian public from Encyclopædia Iranica (2009). He has published widely on Persian literature and culture in both English and Persian and is the author of: Prophets of Doom: Literature as a Socio-Political Phenomenon in Modern Iran (1984),In a Persian Mirror: Images of the West and Westerners in Iranian Fiction(1993), Translating the Garden (2001), Reading Chubak (2005), Persian Cuisine: Traditional, Regional and Modern Foods (2006), Iranian Film and Persian Fiction (2016), Dining at the Safavid Court (2016), and From Prophets of Doom to Chroniclers of Gloom (2021). His translations include Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s By the Pen, Sadeq Chubak’s The Patient Stone, Simin Daneshvar’s Savushun, Ahmad Kasravi’s On Islam and Shi’ism, Sadeq Hedayat’s The Myth of Creation, Nima Yushij’s The Neighbor Says: Letters of Nima Yushij and the Philosophy of Modern Persian Poetry, Davud Ghaffarzadegan’s Fortune Told in Blood, Mohammad Reza Bayrami’s TheTales of Sabalan and Eagles of Hill 60, and Bahram Beyza’i’s Memoirsof the Actor in a Supporting Role. His edited volumes include Iranian Drama: An Anthology, In Transition: Essays on Culture and Identity in Middle Eastern Societies, Gholamhoseyn Sa’edi’s Othello in Wonderland and Mirror-Polishing Storytellers, and Moniro Ravanipour’s Satan Stones and Kanizu. His most recent translations include Shahrokh Meskub’s In the Alley of the Friend and Leaving, Staying, Returning, Hushang Golshiri’s Book of Jinn, Moniro Ravanipour’s The Drowned and These Crazy Nights, Hamid Shokat’s Flight into Darkness: A Political Biography of Shapour Bakhtiar and Caught in the Crossfire: A Political Biography of Qavamossaltaneh, Ghazaleh Alizadeh’s The Nights of Tehran, Ruhangiz Sharifian’s The Last Dream and Doran, and Shahrnush Parsipur’s Blue Logos. He was the recipient of the 2008 Lois Roth Prize for Literary Translation. His forthcoming books are Swan Songs: On Diseases, Death and Dying in Persian Stories and Life Is a Fiction: A Memoir of Life and Literature. His forthcoming translations include Ghazaleh Alizadeh’s The House of the Edrisis and Two Views, Hossein Atashparvar’s From the Moon to the Well, and Reza Julai’s Jujube Blossoms.



Chapter One: An Overview of Persian Fiction

Chapter Two: An Overview of Iranian Films

Chapter Three: Fiction in Film

Chapter Four: Film in Fiction

Chapter Five: War in Fiction

Chapter Six: War in Film





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