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Farigam, Nikoo (2021) A Critical Study of First-Person Narrative in Modern Persian Novels. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is a critical study of the first-person narrative in modern Persian novels. To my knowledge, the first-person narrative, which I define in this work as one of the thorniest issues in literary criticism in Iran, has never been thoroughly discussed before in an academic context, within the purview of Persian Studies. The thesis aims to address the confusion caused by first-person narrator/author identification with respect to modern novel writing in Iran by tracing the issue back to the beginnings of the Persian novel, reviewing modern literary criticism and narratology studies in contemporary Iran and offering a detailed analysis of the first-person narrative in Ṣādeq Hedāyat’s The Blind Owl, the first and most evident case of author/first-person narrator identification in the history of the Persian novel. The thesis investigates the possible cultural and literary reasons for the rise of the first-person narrative in novel writing over the past fifteen years in Iran, including the role of blogging and creative writing workshops, and how the widespread use of first-person narratives has been affected, but not restricted, by government censorship. The thesis also inclusively considers the role of gender, stressing its importance in any analysis of first-person narratives, and looks at the way in which female novelists approach and popularize some narrative techniques such as shifting point of view, employing them as a bargaining chip in order to bypass state censorship and obtain permission to publish their work. Last but not least, the thesis aims to introduce Iranian readers to a new perspective on the point of view: a component of narrative that is not merely formal, but encompasses social, economical and literary circumstances. It is hoped that, by shedding light on author/narrator identification, the thesis will represent a solid initial step towards the development of literary criticism studies in Iran.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Marle Hammond
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 16:42

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