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6/22/07

Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran

A book by Fatemeh Keshavarz

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.
 


Fatemeh Keshavarz
Photo by David Kilper, Washington University in St. Louis


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.



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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.

About the author
Fatemeh Keshavarz is professor of Persian and comparative literature and chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. She is author of four previous books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal Al-Din Rumi and a volume of poetry.

Series: Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks
http://uncpress.unc.edu/books/T-8202.html

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