Recite in the Name of the Red Rose
Poetic Sacred Making in Twentieth-century Iran
Keshevarz begins by introducing the core concepts that define and detach religion and secularity in contemporary Iranian society. By thoroughly discussing the nature of classical Persian poetry she makes clear that expressions of the sacred in verse have been open to negotiation and change even in the premodern period. However, in Iran's modern poetic landscape Keshavarz uncovers many new patterns of expressing the sacred. In individual chapters on the writings of Forugh Farrokhzad (1935–1967), Sohrab Sepehri (1928–1981), and Ahmad Shamlu (1925–2000), she discusses the paradigmatic ways prominent poets of the twentieth century have related to the sacred in a nation forging its vision of modernity.
While most scholars perceive current Iranian culture to be sharply divided between literalist conservatives and secular progressives, Keshavarz identifies provocative shades of spiritual expression less rigidly defined and hence neglected by the established critical tradition. Bringing such expression to the fore of scholarly attention, her study invites a more nuanced appreciation of the crosscurrents of religion and literature in recent Middle Eastern culture.
About the Authors
"Fatemeh Keshavarz's Recite in the Name of the Red Rose is a brilliant, lucid, and highly original study of the religious aspects of modern Persian literature. It is a breakthrough, not only in the sense that it creates a genuine cross-disciplinary fusion of religious studies and literary criticism, but also in the way that it brings about a dramatic revision of how we understand Persian literature in general."—Carl W. Ernst, William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies and director of the Carolina Center for the Study of Middle East and Muslim Civilizations at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Other Titles from Studies in Comparative Religion
Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / Middle Eastern