Literature as a tribunal: the modern Iranian prose of incarceration

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This essay examines the development of prison memoirs in modern Iranian prose. It constructs from the prison memoirs of the dissident writers ʿAli Dashti, Bozorg ʿAlavi, and Reza Baraheni a genealogy of the emergence of prison consciousness in Iranian modernity, across both the Pahlavi and post-revolutionary periods. The modern Iranian prose of incarceration is situated within an account of the prison as a site where the modern technologies of the state are refined. As I trace resonances between the long history of prison writing across the Islamic world and the prison literature of modern Iran, I consider how we can better understand the relation between prose and literary representation in modern Middle Eastern literatures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalProse Studies
Early online date11 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Dec 2017


  • aesthetics and politics, imprisonment, Incarceration, Iran, Islamic revolution, memoir, modernity, Pahlavi, prose, testimony

ASJC Scopus subject areas