Toronto Metropolitan University
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Estranging the Familiar: "East" and "West" in Satrapi's Persepolis

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-29, 15:29 authored by Nima NaghibiNima Naghibi, Andrew O'MalleyAndrew O'Malley

[para. 1]: "Persepolis: The Story of A Childhood (2003) is Marjane Satrapi's highly acclaimed coming-of-age story set in revolutionary Iran. It is part of a new wave of autobiographical writing by diasporic Iranian women, which includes such authors as Tara Bahrampour (To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America, 2000), Gelareh Assayesh (Saffron Sky: A Life Between Iran and America, 2002), Firoozeh Dumas (Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, 2003), Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, 2003), Roya Hakakian (Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran, 2004), and Azadeh Moaveni (Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran, 2005), not to mention Satrapi's own sequel Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (2004), and Embroideries (2005). These women are using the autobiographical form, one virtually unheard of for Iranian women authors until recently, to help them come to terms with the 1979 Iranian Revolution and their new lives in the diaspora. As a means of mapping out the complexities and contingencies of identity, autobiography has been accorded a privileged status in postcolonial and diasporic contexts, and these texts can be viewed as part of this recent trend. However, the use of the autobiographical genre has traditionally been discouraged in Iran, particularly for women. As Farzaneh Milani and Afsaneh Najmabadi have observed, autobiographical stories have been perceived as a form of metaphorical unveiling as indecorous as physical unveiling."




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