Hedayat, Sadegh (1903–1951) By Tagharobi, Kaveh
Sadegh Hedayat was an Iranian writer and intellectual who was responsible for introducing Modernism to Iranian literature. His short stories and novellas are the best examples of such literary forms in Persian literature, which up until then was exclusively defined by its old traditions of classical poetry. Hedayat also contributed to the Iranian experience of modernity by forming intellectual circles and promoting critical thinking on the norms and traditions of Iranian culture and society. While his main literary contributions were short stories and novellas, he also wrote plays, essays, satirical pieces, folklore studies, travelogues, and translated several works by European modernist authors into Persian. His own works, in turn, were translated into other languages. Most notably, his magnum opus The Blind Owl has been translated into some thirty languages, including French. Among the main themes running through his works are the absurdity of human existence, the psychological sufferings and alienation of modern characters, and the hypocrisy, follies, and tribulations of the traditional Iranian lower class. While in his twenties Hedayat spent some years in Europe, and during that time not only did he learn a great deal about Western culture, but this knowledge also gave him a deeper understanding of Iranian society and culture. He always maintained a sharp critical outlook toward his environment, and this was reflected in both his work and personal life.