Art And Culture

Encyclopedia of Characters

Mehrvar has spent ten years on reading a large number of Persian novels, out of which he has extracted 3000 characters to introduce in detail in his work
Encyclopedia of CharactersEncyclopedia of Characters

Researcher Zakaria Mehrvar is compiling an encyclopedia on characters portrayed in books by Persian novelists written since the Qajar era (1785-1925).

Mehrvar, 59, is a former teacher of Persian literature in Savojbolagh County in Alborz Province. The literature teacher has authored 15 titles, including the ‘Study of Modern Novels’ which was published in 2001.

So far he has spent almost ten years compiling the book and has read a large number of novels, out of which he has extracted 3000 characters to introduce in detail in his work.

“I have always believed that the stories of a country are actually like the country itself in that  they define the country and its people from varying social strata”, Mehrvar was quoted as saying by Honaronline.

The encyclopedia studies the characters’ feelings, thoughts and their interaction with society and nature. It also provides a brief background on the books, their writers as well as some information about their publishers.

The entry on some characters spans two pages, while some others are wrapped up in one paragraph.

Some books have many characters and it is hard to include them all,  Mehrvar said giving the example of Mahmoud Dowlatabadi’s ‘Kelidar’ which contains 3000 pages and many minor characters. Kelidar is one of the most famous Persian novels. It took the writer 15 years to finish.

“As a result, I had to confine my work, and exclude some characters of lesser importance. However, sometimes while elaborating on a character, I am left with no choice but to go on a brief introduction of other related characters as well,” Mehrvar added. On the importance of his project at hand, the writer said that to develop new characters, writers can reflect on the representation of persons in other works of arts. “This way, they will be completing and continuing the path from where other authors left.”

Before embarking on the project, Mehrvar studied many books by Iranian and foreign writers on literary and art criticism to help him develop his book.

Mehrvar has not made his decision on the title of this to-be-published book. But he says ‘A Report on Iranian Characters’ is one of the names he is considering.

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