Martyrdom and Liminal Temporal Spaces in Simin Daneshvar’s Sūvashūn

A Talk By

Leila Rahimi Bahmany

Goethe University

Frankfurt am Main

April 28, 2020




Dr. Leila Rahimi Bahmany is a visiting lecturer of the Persian language and culture at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. She has authored several book chapters and encyclopedia articles on Persian literature. Her book, Mirrors of Entrapment and Emancipation: Forugh Farrokhzad and Sylvia Plath, was the Latifeh Yarshater Award recipient in 2016. She is currently working on her second monograph dealing with the life and literary works of a female Iranian writer Simin Daneshvar. Besides modern Persian literature, she is interested in narrative fiction written in the Turkish Azeri language.

Martyrdom and liminal temporal spaces in Simin Daneshvar’s Sūvashūn

When in 1969, a female professor at the University of Tehran, Simin Daneshvar, published her first novel Sūvashūn, it became an immediate hit. The novel depicts poverty and famine caused by the British forces when they had occupied southern Iran during the Second World War and shortly after (1941–1947). Narrated by a female protagonist, the novel presents a story of the staunch resistance of Yūsef, the narrator’s husband, to the colonial ambitions of the British and the corrupt local government, which led to his murder. This presentation will address other historical layers simultaneously proceeding in the novel. In all these temporal layers, martyrdom as a phenomenon of transition remains the key controlling motif. Drawing on the readers’ common cultural memory, Daneshvar aims to maintain an identity for the Iranians at the tumultuous liminal period leading to the 1979 revolution.

Monday, April 19, 2021