December 3, 2023

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Persian audiobook platform offers works by Jalal Al-e Ahmad

TEHRAN – Audiobooks of works by Jalal Al-e Ahmad, an Iranian writer best known for his left-wing views and anti-imperialist writings, have recently been released.

Avaye Chirok, a major Iranian platform offering audiobook services for the Persian audience, has published five works of Al-e Ahmad in a project, which will be completed with five more books by the world-renowned writer, narrator Bahman Vakhshour told the Tehran Times.

“From Our Suffering”, “The Exchange of Visits”, “The Superfluous Woman”, “The School Principal” and “Setar” have been published as the first episode of the project.

In the second part, the project will cover Al-e Ahmad’s stories “The Letter N and the Pen”, also known as “By the Pen”, “A Stone Upon a Grave” and “Five Stories”, and his article “Westoxification” and the writer’s travelogue of Mecca “Lost in the Crowd”. 

Al-e-Ahmad, who was also a social and political critic, was most famous for the article “Westoxification” published in 1962. It was later translated as “Plagued by the West” by the American scholar Paul Sprachman. 

In this article, Al-e Ahmad describes how the fascination with and dependence upon the West has worked to the detriment of traditional, historical and cultural ties to Islam and the Islamic world.

“Lost in the Crowd”, translated into English by John Green with contributions from Ahmad Alizadeh and Farzin Yazdanfar, has enjoyed critical acclaim.

Born in 1923, Al-e Ahmad spent his childhood in relative comfort. Many members of his family, including his father, older brother and a brother-in-law, were all Muslim clerics.

Early in the 1930s, when the Ministry of Justice under Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian monarch who ruled from 1921 to 1941, began to regulate the activities of the clergy, Al-e Ahmad’s father went into voluntary retirement. His decision forced young Jalal to leave school and work at various jobs in the marketplace such as watchmaking and selling leather goods.

He was a member of the Tudeh Party, an Iranian Communist organization, and also translated works by French writers André Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus into Persian.

In 2008, Iran established the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards in memory of the writer, who passed away in 1969.  

Photo: A portrait of the renowned Iranian writer Jalal Al-e Ahmad.


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