Shaw in Mid-Twentieth-Century Iran

Ananisarab, Soudabeh (2020) Shaw in Mid-Twentieth-Century Iran. SHAW: The Journal of Bernard Shaw Studies, 40 (2). pp. 147-175. ISSN 1553-6505

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The popular Iranian TV series, Shahrzad (2015-2018) titled after its female protagonist, features a reoccurring image of Shaw. The walls of the bedroom and study of Shahrzad’s main love interest, Farhad, include only two portraits — one of George Bernard Shaw and the other of Shakespeare. Shahrzad is set in 1950s Iran and begins in the aftermath of the US led 1953 coup which resulted in the overthrow of the then democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, a figure who had made enemies at home and abroad for seeking to nationalise Iran’s oil industry. Farhad is a firm supporter of Mossadegh and a revolutionary, exemplified in his involvement in an unsuccessful plot to free Mossadegh from prison. Farhad’s study is integral to the development of his character and the show’s plot. Farhad is a man of letters, a journalist, and enthusiast of modernist Persian poetry who reads avidly and often engages in intellectual debate. The study is also where he plots the acts of rebellion that then emerge as he meets with associates and friends, hiding plans and even ammunition amongst his books and other belongings. Shaw’s image in this room may at first glance seem insignificant or accidental. When positioned in the larger context of mid-twentieth-century Iranian politics, however, it is indicative of Shaw’s strong presence in the emerging debates around social and political reform amongst many Iranian intellectuals and literary figures of the period.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
13 August 2020Accepted
1 December 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shaw, Iran, Arms and the Man, Saint Joan, Man and Superman
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-04 - languages and area studies > CAH19-04-07 - African and modern Middle Eastern studies
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-03 - drama
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Soudabeh Ananisarab
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2020 10:25
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59

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