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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Fall 2008

PRS 384C • 19th Century Persian Travel Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42742 W
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Ghanoonparvar, M.

Course Description

The safarnameh or travel diary is considered the most popular literary and historical genre of Iran in the 19th century. Until recently, Iranian 19th-century travel diaries were examined by historians primarily as documents to reconstruct the history of the Qajar period, by social scientists as sources for an understanding of the social and political composition of Iran in the past century, and by literary scholars, as examples of the prose style of the period. However, an important aspect of these works is their place in the history of Persian literature as a precursor to the modern novel, an aspect to which little attention has been paid. In this course, we will examine the major Persian travel diaries as fictional reconstructions of the lands, peoples, and cultures visited by Iranian travelers from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. Questions that will be explored include: Do these writers follow any particular structural form(s) in their work? If so, what are those forms? To what extent are they objective or inventive in their presentations? What role do the narrators play as characters, and how do they employ the story-telling conventions of earlier Persian authors? What impact has the genre had on the development of 20th-century Persian fiction?

Grading Policy

Two analytical papers, 60%; class presentation and participation, 40%.


Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, Masir-e Talebi; Mirza Saleh Shirazi, Gozaresh-e Safar; Abolhasan Khan Ilchi, Heyratnameh; Hoseyn ebn-e Sarabi, Makhzan ol-Vaqaye'; Ali Dehbashi, ed., Safarnameh-ye Haj Sayyah beh Farang; Hafez F. Farmayan, ed., Safarnameh-ye Haj Pirzadeh, Vols. 1 and 2; Homayun Shahidi, ed., Safarnameh-ye Shikago; Mohammad Moshiri, ed., Safarnameh-ye Ebrahim Sahhafbashi; Farahani, Safarnameh-ye Mirza Mohammad Hoseyn Farahani; Zeynol'abedin Maragheh'i, Siyahatnameh-ye Ebrahim Beyg; James Morier, The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan.


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