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Making History in IranEducation, Nationalism, and Print Culture$
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Farzin Vejdani

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791533

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791533.001.0001

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A Nation of Poets

A Nation of Poets

(p.145) 6 A Nation of Poets
Making History in Iran

Farzin Vejdani

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores how literature, especially poetry, was a crucial dimension of early twentieth-century Iranian national self-fashioning. Through epistolary exchanges and the writing of literary histories, Iranian nationalists recast Persian literature as geographically bound and thus often excluded the contributions from and cross-fertilizations with peoples beyond the boundaries of the modern Iranian nation-state. Transnational debates about the Persian literary canon, centering around the English scholar Edward Granville Browne, were crucial to hardening nationalist conceptualizations of literature. During the interwar period, educators employed literary histories as a means of demonstrating continuities in Iranian history despite political domination by “foreign” rulers. In this way, literary histories mirrored local histories in their integrative function, albeit in time rather than space.

Keywords:   canonization, literature, literary history, textbooks, Republic of Letters, E. G. Browne, anti-imperialism, transnationalism

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