Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran

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University of North Carolina Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 174 pages
9 Reviews
In a direct, frank, and intimate exploration of Iranian literature and society, scholar, teacher, and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz challenges popular perceptions of Iran as a society bereft of vitality and joy. Her fresh perspective on present-day Iran provides a rare insight into this rich culture alive with artistic expression but virtually unknown to most Americans.

Keshavarz introduces readers to two modern Iranian women writers whose strong and articulate voices belie the stereotypical perception of Iranian women as voiceless victims in a country of villains. She follows with a lively critique of the recent best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which epitomizes what Keshavarz calls the "New Orientalist narrative," a view marred by stereotype and prejudice more often tied to current geopolitical conflicts than to an understanding of Iran.

Blending in firsthand glimpses of her own life--from childhood memories in 1960s Shiraz to her present life as a professor in America--Keshavarz paints a portrait of Iran depicting both cultural depth and intellectual complexity. With a scholar's expertise and a poet's hand, she helps amplify the powerful voices of contemporary Iranians and leads readers toward a deeper understanding of the country's past and present.

In a direct, frank, and intimate exploration of Iranian literature and society, scholar, teacher, and poet Fatemeh Keshavarz challenges popular perceptions of Iran as a society bereft of vitality and joy. Her fresh perspective on present day Iran provides a rare insight into this rich culture alive with artistic expression but virtually unknown to most Americans. She warns against the rise of what she calls the "New Orientalist narrative," which thrives on stereotype and prejudice and is often tied to current geopolitical conflict rather than an understanding of Iran. Keshavarz offers a lively critique of the best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran, which she says epitomizes this New Orientalist attitude. Blending in firsthand glimpses of her own life, Keshavarz paints a portrait of Iran depicting both cultural depth and intellectual complexity.
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Review: Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran

User Review  - Beverly Atkinson - Goodreads

Although the scholarly premise intrigued me, I found the writing tedious and the content non-illuminating. Prof. Keshavarz's premise is that "Reading Lolita in Tehran," "The Kite Runner," and a few ... Read full review

Review: Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran

User Review  - Carolinemawer - Goodreads

It was great to hear some good stuff about Iran. The Jasmine flowers of the title are very lovely, and I was happy to be reminded of the stars in Iran. They are especially gorgeous from the deserts ... Read full review

Contents

The Jasmine the Stars and the Grasshoppers
13
My Uncle the Painter
59
Tea with My Father and the Saints
145
Copyright

1 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Fatemeh Keshavarz is Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. She is author of four previous books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal Al-Din Rumi and a volume of poetry.

Bibliographic information