Please join us this Thursday, April 8, for a talk (in English!) by Dr. Reza Taher-Kermani, titled "The Persian Presence in Victorian Poetry."
In Dr. Taher-Kermani's own words:
The word Persia stood not just as the poetry of Hafiz or Omar Khayyam in the nineteenth century, but as a complex and paradoxical embodiment of different notions. Persia was a cultural imaginary, a mental landscape formed over time by a range of oral and written stories, themes, and tropes. The Victorians responded to this landscape from different perspectives, marked by every shade of social class, religious affiliation, and political allegiance. My aim in this talk is to discuss this manifold nature of the Victorians’ conception of Persia, exploring the variety of ways in which Persia figures in Victorian poetry.
Dr. Taher-Kermani is a scholar of world literature. His primary area of research is the engagement between nineteenth-century British literature and culture and the cultures of the non-western world that Britain encountered, traded with, and sometimes ruled in this period.
Dr. Taher-Kermani's first book, The Persian Presence in Victorian Poetry, published in July 2020 by Edinburgh University Press, is a study of the manifestations of Persia in Victorian poetry. The book draws on literary, historical, and cross-cultural studies to explore how Persia, and the multitude of notions associated with it, figure in Victorian poetry. As well as a monograph, Reza has published several peer-reviewed articles in academic journals such as Iranian Studies, Translation and Literature, Middle Eastern Literatures, The Review of English Studies, Victoriographies, and Victorian Literature and Culture. Dr. Taher-Kermani’s writings cover a range of literary and historical figures, as well as material and cultural contexts, including medieval Persian poetry, the British and American appropriation of classical Persian poetry, the history of Anglo-Persian contacts, the repercussions of the politics of the ‘Great Game’ in nineteenth-century English literature, literary translation, and literary Orientalism.
Dr. Taher-Kermani is presently at work on two book projects: one focuses on representations of Islam in Rudyard Kipling’s writings; the other examines the idea of nationhood in the poetry of Iranian women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Dr. Taher-Kermani is currently an independent scholar. He has previously worked at Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), NTU (Singapore), and Shahid Beheshti University.