chapter  10
22 Pages

Modern Persian literature: From the constitutional revolution to the revolution of 1979

Modern Persian literature began to emerge in the latter half of the nineteenth century by the impact of closer contacts with Europe. In retrospect two figures in particular loom large as precursors of modern trends in literature, although in different ways and with different impacts: Mirza Malkam Khan and Fath’ali Akhundzadeh. An early theorist of the Iranian nationalist and Aryanist ideology, Akhundzadeh was a radical critic of classical Persian poetry to the extent that he claimed it was not ‘poésie’ at all, but useless versifications written on panegyric and other worthless subjects. The exception to some extent was Ferdowsi, since he had written on ancient Persian mythology and history, unlike others whose poetry was made up of panegyrics, love, mysticism, ethics and religion, although this somehow overlooked the religious and panegyric contents of Shahnameh.