A contemporary version of the Cain and Abel story, this novel was greeted with widespread praise when it was first published in Iran in 1989. Set in the northern town of Ardabil in the aftermath of the Second World War, the story begins as Urhan Urkhani, a prominent citizen of the town, sets out to find his brother in a mid-winter snowstorm. Over the course of that day-long search, the entire history of the family is revealed in four symphony-like movements. Told through the rotating viewpoints of the family patriarch and each of his four children, the family’s misfortunes become the mirror of a paternalistic and oppressive society that pits brother against brother, encourages a father to denounce a son and burn his poems, forces a daughter to remain in an unhappy marriage, and abandons the last child to a mysterious hidden existence.
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.”
With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first opening, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing — though absurdly comic — meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, “Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man.”
Considered the most important work of modern Iranian literature, The Blind Owl is a haunting tale of loss and spiritual degradation. Replete with potent symbolism and terrifying surrealistic imagery, Sadegh Hedayat’s masterpiece details a young man’s despair after losing a mysterious lover. And as the author gradually drifts into frenzy and madness, the reader becomes caught in the sandstorm of Hedayat’s bleak vision of the human condition. The Blind Owl, which has been translated into many foreign languages, has often been compared to the writing of Edgar Allan Poe.
Designed specifically for students with no background knowledge in the subject, this accessible introduction covers all of the basic concepts and major theories in the philosophy of mind. Topics discussed include dualism, behaviorism, the identity theory, functionalism, the computational theory of mind, connectionism, physicalism, mental causation, and consciousness. The text is enhanced by chapter summaries, a glossary, suggestions for further reading, and self-assessment questions.
This is a great book to read and certainly gives the reader an insight into the Islamic world of that era. Omar al Khayyam, was one of the most renowned philosophers, mathematicians, poets of the 11th century Persia. He is a great credit to Islam and his tolerance, seeking of knowledge and scientific mind would have been much appreciated today, in our world of religious fanaticism.
The Iranian poet and painter Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980) is revered today for many of the things he was criticized for during his lifetime. Born and raised in the ancient city of Kashan, he was educated in Tehran and traveled widely. A gentle introvert by nature, he was accused of escapism when his reaction to the world around him was to go back to nature, mysticism and mythology, poetry and painting. This mystic of the twentieth century seeks a light that radiates from the individual soul and ultimately affects its relationship with others and the world around it. While Rumi, the mystic of the thirteenth century, dances, sings, and chants out loud that he comes from the world of spirit and is a stranger in the world of matter, Sepehri, quietly aware of humanity in a milieu alien to its physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, in poetry and painting, appeared to stroke human consciousness into a tranquility, almost a state of beatitude, which nevertheless is never quite free of the ongoing struggle for “awareness, understanding and illumination.”
Poetry. Sufism. Middle Eastern Literature. Arab American Studies. Translated from the Persian by Reza Ordoubadian. Shamsed-din Hafez was born some six hundred years ago in southern Iran, but his poems have universal and contemporary appeal. Wherever Persian is known, he is easily recited by both king and the common man. Those uncertain about matters of love, fortune, or any other situation open a page of his collection of poems at random and in it see their dilemmas untangled. His turns of phrase have enriched the Persian lexicon and entered everyday language; this has made him Persian culture’s most read, quoted, and revered figure.