For thousands of years many ethnicities, languages and religions have coexisted in Iran, and continue to do so despite traumatic events and transient ideologies. But since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the West has been virtually cut off from that country's culture. Despite severe difficulties imposed by social, political and economic upheavals as well as war, repression and censorship, a veritable cultural renewal has taken place in Iran over the past quarter century, not only in literature but in music, art and cinema. Now, for the first time, we have in translation selections from the work of over forty writers from three generations, both men and women, which offer an overview of contemporary trends in Persian literature and go a long way toward filling a huge gap in our knowledge. This rich and varied collection - or to use the Persian term golchine, a bouquet - provides a much needed window onto a largely undiscovered branch of world literature. "Strange Times in Persia" will bring literary enjoyment as well as a fuller understanding of Iran's complex contemporary culture.
Nahid Mozaffari received her Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. She has taught courses on the history, culture, politics and literature of the Middle East and North Africa at various universities in the United States and Europe. She currently teaches at New York University. Ahmad Karimi Hakkak is a professor of Persian Literature and the director for the Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. He has written 18 books on Persian literature, film and culture and is the president of the International Society for Iranian Studies.