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Every Thursday morning in a living room in Iran, over tea and pastries, eight women meet in secret to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. As they lose themselves in the worlds of Lolita, The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice, gradually they come to share their own stories, dreams and hopes with each other, and, for a few hours, taste freedom. Azar Nafisi's bestselling memoir is a moving, passionate testament to the transformative power of books, the magic of words and the search for beauty in life's darkest moments.
This book investigates the various reasons behind the elevation of the memoir, previously categorized as a marginalized form of life writing that denudes the private space of women, especially in Western Asian countries such as Iran. Through a comparative investigation of Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (1) and (2), the book examines the way both narrative and graphic memoirs offer possibilities for Iranian women to reclaim new territory, transgress a post-traumatic revolution, and reconstruct a new model of womanhood that evades socio-political and religious restrictions. Exile is conceptualized as empowering rather than a continued status of loss and disillusionment, and the liminality of both women writers turns into a space of artistic production. The book also resists the New Orientalist scope within which Reading Lolita in Tehran, more than Persepolis, has been misread. In order to reject these allegations, this work sheds light on the representation of Iranian women in Reading Lolita in Tehran, not as weak victims held captive by a totalitarian version of Islam, but as active participants rewriting their stories through the liberating power of the memoir. The comparative approach between narrative and comic memoirs is a fruitful way of displaying similar experiences of disillusionment, loss, return, and exile through different techniques. The common thread uniting both memoirs is their zeal to reclaim Iranian women’s agency and strength over subservience and passivity.
We all have dreams--things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi's dream and of the nightmare that made it come true. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading--Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita--their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran. Nafisi's account flashes...
In a direct, frank, and intimate exploration of Iranian literature and society, scholar, teacher, and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz challenges popular perceptions of Iran as a society bereft of vitality and joy. Her fresh perspective on present-day Iran provides a rare insight into this rich culture alive with artistic expression but virtually unknown to most Americans. Keshavarz introduces readers to two modern Iranian women writers whose strong and articulate voices belie the stereotypical perception of Iranian women as voiceless victims in a country of villains. She follows with a lively critique of the recent best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which epitomizes what Keshavarz calls the "New Orientalist narrative," a view marred by stereotype and prejudice more often tied to current geopolitical conflicts than to an understanding of Iran. Blending in firsthand glimpses of her own life--from childhood memories in 1960s Shiraz to her present life as a professor in America--Keshavarz paints a portrait of Iran depicting both cultural depth and intellectual complexity. With a scholar's expertise and a poet's hand, she helps amplify the powerful voices of contemporary Iranians and leads readers toward a deeper understanding of the country's past and present.
When the author, the professor, refuses to wear a veil in the university, she is expelled from the institute. Eventually, she begins to teach students, a few female students, at her home. The novel describes how the Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq War created a deep impact on the lives of the common people, particularly women, in Iran. The author presents the story through several personal anecdotes that she weaves together very skilfully. Ready Reference Treatise: Reading Lolita In Tehran Copyright Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Plot Overview Chapter Three: Major Characters Chapter Four: Complete Summary Chapter Five: Critical Analysis
From the author of the bestselling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran comes a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction today. Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her million-copy bestseller, Reading Lolita in Tehran, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught The Great Gatsby and other classics to her eager students in Iran. In this exhilarating follow-up, Nafisi has written the book her fans have been waiting for: an impassioned, beguiling and utterly original tribute to the vital importance of fiction in a democratic society. Taking her cue from a challenge thrown to her at a reading, she energetically responds to those who say fiction has nothing to teach us today. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favourite novels, she invites us to join her as citizens of her 'Republic of Imagination', a country where the villains are conformity, and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.
In this book, we have hand-picked the most sophisticated, unanticipated, absorbing (if not at times crackpot!), original and musing book reviews of "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books." Don't say we didn't warn you: these reviews are known to shock with their unconventionality or intimacy. Some may be startled by their biting sincerity; others may be spellbound by their unbridled flights of fantasy. Don't buy this book if: 1. You don't have nerves of steel. 2. You expect to get pregnant in the next five minutes. 3. You've heard it all.

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