Art And Culture

Myth and Fantasy in Persian Novels

Myth and Fantasy in Persian Novels
Myth and Fantasy in Persian Novels

The children and adolescent section of Elmi-va-Farhangi (Scientific and Cultural) Publishing House has formed a team of writers to produce mythical, legendary and fantasy books for young readers.

Working under the title of ‘Blue Bird Books’, more than 10 volumes of various novels have been written by a team of five female authors including Avisa Sharafi, Mahsa Lezgi, Masoumeh Yazdani, Badri Mashhadi and Sulmaz Khajehvand, IBNA reported.

In addition, a five-volume fantasy-mythical book titled ‘Kian and the Inhabitants of the Mythical Castle’ is authored by five other female writers, which chronicles the confrontations of a teenage boy named Kian and his friend Mazdak with an evil scientist Azhdak, who dreams of dominating the world using different technologies.

However, with the assistance of Iranian mythical heroes, Kian and Mazdak ruin his plans and defeat him.

Niloufar Nikbonyad, Zahra Shahi, Masoumeh Yazdani, Reyhaneh Jafari and Parisa Shams are the writers of the collection.

Fantasy and mythical books are quite popular among children and young adults across the world. Fantasy is a genre of fiction that uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic and magical creatures are common.

Nevertheless, this genre is often neglected in Iran. This is while Persian literature has an enriched source of legendary and heroic tales in the epic ‘Shahnameh’ (Book of Kings) written by the celebrated classical poet Ferdowsi.

Just a handful of Iranian contemporary authors have made use of Shahnameh characters and based their stories on them. The trilogy of ‘Persians and I’ (2003-2005) by Arman Arian is probably the most famous of its kind which has mixed the contemporary world with Persian mythology and history involving Zahhak (an evil figure), Rostam (the protagonist) and Cyrus the Great (king of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BC) among others.

 World Literature

Plenty of such stories can be found in world literature both in the classic and contemporary works as they provide the writers the opportunity to convey complex ideas on a symbolic level that would otherwise be difficult to say.

The most popular examples include the trilogy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien (which completely happens in a fantasy world), ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll (which starts in the real world and moves into a fantasy world) and ‘Mary Poppins’ by P. L. Travers (set in the real world but with elements of magic).

Unfortunately, these days not only the young generation but also a majority of people are getting far away from book reading as they are bombarded with a plethora of information through various media, particularly online.

Therefore, updating ancient Iranian stories and combining them with modern issues to make them more attractive for today’s young readers is a positive step.

The publisher plans to present the novels at the Tehran International Book Fair in May.