Bozorg Alavi

Bozorg Alavi Born in Tehran and educated in Germany, Bozorg Alavi (b. 1904) is the most famous "lefist" Iranian writer. He returned to Iran in the early 1930s, taught, and published a volume of short stories called Chemadan [The Suitcase] (1934), for which G.M. Wickens provides plot summaries in "Bozorg Alavi's Portmanteau," University of Toronto Quarterly 29 (1960). Alavi was arrested in 1937 for violation of a 1933 anti-Communist law. He and fifty-two others remained in jail until the Allied Occupation of Iran in the fall of 1941. Afterwards, Alavi wrote two books on his time in prison Panjah-o seh nafar [Fifty-Three Persons] and a collection of short narratives called Varaq'pareh'ha-ye zendan [Prison Scraps of Paper], which appears in translation along with a biographical sketch by Donne Raffat in The Prison Papers of Bozorg Alavi: A Literary Odyssey (1985). In the World War II years, Alavi was a founder of the Tudeh (Communist) Party of Iran and edited the party newspaper Mardom. In 1952, Alavi published his most famous work, a novel called Chashmhayash [Her Eyes] and a collection of stories called Nameh' ha va dastanha-ye digar [Letters and Other Stories]. The famous short story from that collection called "Gileh mard" [The Man from Gilan] appears in translation in Literature East & West 20 (1980). John O Kane's translation of Her Eyes appeared in 1989. During the royalist coup d'etat bought Mohammad Mosaddeq's nationalist government down in mid-August 1953, Alavi was in East Germany, where he remained, subsequently teaching Persian literature at East Berlin's Humboldt University. Alavi's novella called Salariha [The Salari Family] and Mirza, a collection of six short stories written in the late 1960s and early 1970s, were published in Tehran in 1978. Alavi visited Iran briefly in 1979 and again in 1980, where he had a family before his 1952 departure for Europe. Throughout the 1980s, Alavi lectured widely in Europe and North America.


Stories from Iran