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Iran’s Literary Becoming: Zokaʾ ol-Molk Forughi and the Literary History That Wasn’t

Aria Fani, "Iran’s Literary Becoming: Zokaʾ ol-Molk Forughi and the Literary History That Wasn’t," Iran Namag 5.3 (2020), pp. 114-144.

This article comprises three methodical vignettes centered on Mohamad Hosayn Forughi’s life, his little-known Literary History, and the broader cultural context to which it belonged. The brief biographical section places the author in the emerging ecosystem of literary institutions and journals in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, illustrating his liminal position in the Qajar court and his role in creating a national pedagogy based on which generations of Iranian students were educated. The second section focuses on introducing his Literary History by outlining its different sections, explaining what they mean and why they were important to the formation of literary history as a modern genre. The last vignette addresses the common historiographical impulse of overestimating works of prominent intellectuals by demonstrating how Forughi’s Literary History belonged to a much broader social context in which similar ideas were in circulation.

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