Dr Behzad Ghaderi’s Top Sevens

Born in 1953 in the South-Eastern city of Zahedan, Behzad Ghaderi should be regarded as the cavalier of Drama Studies in Iran. A peerless translator, an amicable professor, and author of a large number of research works and articles, he abides inclusion in any certain category of activities.

After elementary and secondary education in Kerman and Bojnurd, Ghaderi pursued English Language and Literature at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, received his MA degree in American Literature from Shiraz University and finally had his PhD dissertation on British Drama 1960-1990. Besides diverse academic activities as researcher and professor of English, he introduced a large number of European dramas via his delicate translations – of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Edward Bond’s The Fool, Howard Brenton’s Bloody Poetry, O’Neil’s Hairy Ape, Churchill’s Top Girls, and George Steiner’s The Death of Tragedy as well as authorship of excellent books such as With The Lamp in Distorted Mirrors  (Tehran: Qatreh Publications, 2005), and Revolutions and British Drama (New Delhi, Bahri Publications, 2002),  to name a few.

Dr Ghaderi has been kind enough to respond – contemplatively and creatively – to The Parsagon Review‘s questionnaire.


PARSAGON: What are the top seven works of world literature that have had the deepest influence on your life and career?

DR GHADERI: Books that left a strong imprint on my mind:

  1. The audio-visual phase (the formation years 7-11)

The Shahnameh, Eskandarnameh, Hezar-o-yek Shab (Thousand and One Nights), Samak-e Ayyar (Samak the Con-Man), Amir Arsalan, Ketabha-ye Talayee (The Golden Books for Children).

It now sounds like an ancient, bygone time. Those days even defied what one may call ‘radio-days’. Ghahveh-Khanes (Tea-Houses) were still jewels of community life where males gathered, drank tea, boasted, raved mad, and never despaired. There was also a time in the evening when silence fell upon all those eager ears, when they opened those huge, golden books, giving them a chance to prove that they existed by reading episodes from them. ‘Reading’ is too inadequate a word for those occasions: it was recitation, improvisation, singing, Naghali and all that. It was a place where Imam Hussein (the Shepherd of the region who annually performed this role in Ta’ziyehs) sat next to Shemr (the killer of Imam Hussein who was the local butcher and annually performed this role in Ta’ziyehs); it was a place where the local grocer acted as Naghal re-enacting episodes from The Shahname, the school janitor of the district knew how to read aloud but melodiously from Amir Arsalan AND it was a place where they challenged one another in the manner of reading these tales (meaning to impress their audience more effectively).

My father didn’t take me with him but didn’t mind when I got there at the right time not to miss the public event. Now I see that place like Plato’s Symposium or Attar’s The Conference of the Birds but more of the former than the latter.
Then there were those wonderful Ketabha-ye Talayee (The Golden Books for Children) that my father would bring me when he went on one of his shopping enterprises, books so rich with imagery, people from remote lands, suffering and love and all.

2- The Later Phase (11 onwards)

A. Seven Persian Books:

1- The Shahnameh (Ferdowsi)
2- The Value of Emotions and Five Essays on Poetry and Drama [Arzesh-e Ehsasat Va Panj Maghale Dar She’r o Namayesh] (Nima Youshij)
3- The Blind Owl (Hedayat)
4- Iman Biyavarim be Aghaz-e Fasl-e Sard (Let’s Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season; Forough Farrokhzad)
5- Rowzane ye Abi (The Blue Opening; Akbar Radi)
6- Marsiyeha-ye Khak (Elegies of the Earth; Shamlou)
7- The History of Constitution in Iran [Tarikh-e Mashrooteh-ye Iran] (Kasravi)

B. Seven Foreign Books:

1- The Symposium (Plato)
2- On the Nature of Universe (Lucretius)
3- Rosmersholm (Ibsen)
4- The Birth of Tragedy (Nietzsche)
5- The Idiot (Dostoyevsky)
6- The Confidence-Man (Melville)
7- Narcissus and Goldmund (Hesse)



  • Oh Mortal Month of May!

    In the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, May 2021 is marked by a huge cultural loss, as regrettably seven eminent and irreplaceable figures of culture, arts and literature of Iran passed away during this month

  • Mansour Owji [1937-2021]

    BIO BRIEF Mansour Owji (November 30, 1937 – May 8, 2021) was a contemporary Iranian poet and writer. He was born in the Darb-e-Astane Seyyed […]

  • Mohammad Qazvini [1877-1949]

    Qazvini, Mohammad (Tehran, 30th March 1877 – 27th May 1949) [10th Farvardin 1256 – 6th Khordad 1328]. A pioneer in the field of literary and […]

  • May 2016

    1. Painter Parviz Kalantari dies at 85 The diligent artist and illustrator Parviz Kalantari, famous for his indigenous drawings of Iranian nomadic life passed away […]

  • May 2015 Roundup

    I. The 28th Tehran Int’l Book Fair Held Tehran International Book Fair is annually held in May as a social and cultural phenomenon with book […]

  • Badiozzaman Forouzanfar Award

    Professor Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (originally named Mohammad-Hassan Boshruyei) was born on 12 July 1904 in Boshruyeh of Ferdows County and passed away on May 6, 1970. His […]

  • Reza Amirkhani [b. 1973]

    BIO BRIEF Born in Tehran a few years before the Islamic Revolution, Reza Amirkhani is a true representative of the Revolution Generation, or as they […]

About Mahboube Khalvati 12 Articles
Mahboube Khalvati is a PhD Candidate in English Literature at UNISA.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.