Early Twentieth Century Persian Literature in Transoxiana and Persia: The Role of History and Modernity in the Rise of New Literature

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Institutional Affiliation : 
University of Payam-e Nur
Academic Bio: 
Ph.D, 2007, Tehran University with extensive research projects on contemporary as well as classical Persian literature in Iran and Tajikistan. Currently, a faculty member at the University of Payame Nur. I wrote my dissertation on the works of the Tajik author Sadrodin Anyni.

This article studies the process of the creation of new Persian literature in a number of central Asian societies with an emphasis on Bukhara and Samarqand. It shows how events such as the defeat of Iran at the hands of Russia in 1813 and 1828, the establishment of Russia’s control over Bokhara in 1868, the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, as well as Bukhara’s Revolution in 1924 played constructive roles in the creation and reinforcement of an enlightenment and modernist movement in those regions. In Bukhara and Samarqand, in particular, a movement in support of scientific and modernist change arose, which created conditions for political, economical, cultural, and literary changes. In this context, various factors such as reformist activities, a decline in central political power, creation of grassroots associations, contacts with Europe, dispatching students to western universities, the arrival of the print industry, publication of numerous books and journals, and the creation of new schools and scientific centers all influenced literary authors in their production of literary works that promoted modernity and criticized existing social conditions. This article provides textual and discursive analyses of the works of such thinkers as A. Makhdum, S. Zia, S. Ayni, M. Saraj, and A. Fetrat and historical documents such as Tarikh-e Enqelab-e Fekri-e Bokhara, Tarikh-e Amiran Bukhara, Tahf-e Bukhara and other sources on the Monghitieh Dynasty. In order to illustrate the process of literary modernity in this region, the article will compare it with the way modern Persian literature came into existence in Iran (Persia) in the early twentieth century. A comparative study of the works of literary activists with different nationalities (such as A. Makhdum, A. Ayni, M. Talebof, Z. Maraghei, N. Shomal, A. Dehkhoda, Bahar, and A. Lahuti) will help show the similarities and differences of the processes in the two different contexts. The article will also benefit from existing western scholarship on the topic.

Academic Discipline : 
Comparative literary and cultural studies
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