• Ajnabi, or The Xenological Uncanny in Iranian Modernism,” New Literary History (2021)

    Author(s):
    Rebecca Ruth Gould (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    Comparison, Cultural Studies, Global & Transnational Studies, Literary theory, Persian and Persianate Studies
    Subject(s):
    Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939, Iranians
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Golshiri, Hedayat, Sadeqi, xenology, Iran, uncanny, novel, Freud, Persian, Modernism
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/recg-gh48
    Abstract:
    Within Iran, the transformation in the Islamic legal understanding of the foreign (ajnabi) into a political concept was accelerated by the encounter with Europe during the 19th century. The classical Iranian understanding of otherness as a domain fully demarcated from the self was replaced by an internalized other, resulting in what we call here the xenological uncanny. This article examines Iranian modernism through the lens of trauma theory, whereby haunted subjects fail in distinguishing between self and other, and modernization is perceived as demonization. The three works we discuss—Sadeq Hedayat’s Blind Owl (1937), Bahram Sadeqi’s Heavenly Kingdom (1961), and Hushang Golshiri’s Prince Ehtejab (1968)—each delineate a different register in the xenological uncanny. Our lineage reveals how modernist Persian prose recapitulates a trajectory of possession and dispossession by the foreign and in the process brings about the traumatic recognition of a foreign voice within the self. In focusing on the divided modernist self from a Persian point of view, we identify an unrecognized trajectory for the uncanny within global literary modernism.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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