The 18th episode of Parse is an excerpt from a lecture given by Dominic Parviz Brookshaw where he explores the little-known involvement of women poets in the trajectory of the neoclassical Bazgasht-i adabi (“literary return movement”) in early Qajar Iran. Overlooked in the scholarship or dismissed as marginal, the evidence presented in this lecture will show that, that women poets were very active in the Bazgasht-i adabi, thus shattering certain preconceptions we have about women’s lives in early nineteenth-century Iran.
Brookshaw is an Associate Professor of Persian Literature at the University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow in Persian at Wadham College. His latest book, Hafiz and His Contemporaries: Poetry, Performance, and Patronage in Fourteenth-century Iran published in 2019, was awarded the 2020 Saidi-Sirjani Book Award. His current book project is a study of early Qajar poetry in which, for the first time, the poetry of women, provincial litterateurs, and members of ethnolinguistic and heterodox religious communities will be read alongside that produced by elite men to unpack the gender and center-periphery dynamics at play in the Bazgasht-i adabi, Iran’s last truly indigenous literary movement.