Our beloved poet Saadi relates that once upon a time he had lost all his money and revenues and, perforce, had to wander barefooted around the town. He started complaining of the vicissitudes of life and how he felt broken under the burden of poverty and hard times, until quite by chance he saw a man who had no feet, and so he thanked God for his healthy feet.
So do we feel here at The Parsagon Review. While most contemporary critics of Persian literature (comparing it with western literature and theoretical achievements, and often from an alienated seat) are inclined to completely neglect and downgrade local literary productions, and while the obstacles and challenges of keeping an English database devoted to Persian literature are piling up, we would rather keep on trying – like optimist cavaliers – and thank God for the strong feet (pillars) of our local literature, even if barefooted and aimless it wanders in the garden of World Literature today.
Considering the situation, we would like to revision some of the initial and challenging questions about the nature of Parsagon: should we persistently promote our local ideas by appropriating the language of the Other? Are you, our dear audiences, satisfied with reading about one literature in another language? Yet the challenge is not yet overcome. What kind of literature is worth promoting – the most similar to the target culture(s) (say, English), or the most different? Are our readers still interested in the so-called exotic portraits of the East? Is that why modern stories are often taken for granted? Should we, by choosing the likeliest literary materials to the English corpus, underscore cultural hues and focus more on global issues, or quite the opposite?
The questions pour out nonstop, like an endless Pandora Box that we have kept open for seven months, and are determined to keep it so.
Seven months have passed, seven months since we launched our database and monthly journal. We will pause then, re-assess ourselves and see how far we have gone with our answers to such questions; a hard task that will never be accomplished without your support and feedback.
As a result, our June issue will be a little bit different in the choice of materials and outlook. We won’t disappoint you however. Keep up with us.
Image: Naive Art – Mokarrameh Ghanbari