Reading Lolita in Tehran

The Middle East Forum has published a brief summary of Azar Nafisi’s presentation regarding her book Reading Lolita in Tehran at the organization, as well as an interesting excerpt of the book that ran in its quarterly publication this summer.
In the summary of her presentation, Nafisi states: “Iran has received considerable attention in the news lately, so I hope my book can provide answers to the pressing questions concerning developments within Iranian society and politics. Indeed, Reading Lolita seeks to clarify the larger challenges of human rights, Islamic fundamentalism, and especially the status of women in a theocracy by connecting these critical issues to important literary themes.
“At the core of Islamic fundamentalism is a repressive totalitarian ideology. This ideology is the manifestation of a great faith in crisis, where fanatics have perverted religion into vicious doctrines of intolerance, control, and hatred. Examining the ideological nature of the Iranian revolution is, therefore, vital to understanding Iran, for it was the first state captured by the forces of militant Islam in the twentieth century. In 1979, an astonished world watched as the ayatollahs merged the machinery of a state with a fundamentalist ideology. Radical clergymen turned their cruel fantasies into the law of the land. Their fundamentalist vision transformed the country of my childhood, known simply as Iran, into the brutal Islamic Republic of Iran.”


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