The meeting “Oral History of Book” hosts Davood Mousaee again

The destiny of several reference books

Maryam Rajabi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


According to the website of Iranian Oral History, the 24th meeting out of the second round of the meetings “Oral History of Book” hosted Davood Mousaee, the Head of Farhang-e Mo’aser (contemporary culture) Publications for the third time. The meeting organized by Nasrollah Haddadi, researcher and writer was held on Tuesday morning 19th of September 2017 in the House of Book Institute.  


The principles of writing an encyclopedia

Mousaee said, “When we started our work, we intended to work only in the field of dictionaries namely public dictionary and then professional dictionary, but everything was confused with the coming of internet. And at present we have some 40 thousand pages of reference books which are the result of the years that have been carried out in our research department, and since it needs a costly investment, we ourselves extract every single of them. In our country, we still do not have an independent encyclopedia for children and teens, and if it exists, some 70 percent of them have been translated and just 30 percent have been written. We worked on this project for some seven years. This book has been written in four thousand pages or ten 400-page volumes and when we started the work, were supposed to be priced at 70 or 70 thousand tomans but it took a long time and reached at this point of time. The first principle of writing an encyclopedia is that you should be trustful and loyal and the writing of an encyclopedia should not be biased. Today, we have recruited a new group on this encyclopedia (kids and teenagers) to update it. We could not leave it. However, we are not going to publish it in the old format and want to do this in new methods.  

Or for example the book “The Comparative History of Architecture of Iran and the world” which has been published by Dr. Iraj Etesam in folio in three thousand pages. The development of a society can be measured through the reference book produced in it and we thought that stated organizations would help a little in producing the book. Thus, I made an appointment with a number of friends in the higher rank of the government and met with them. But eventually, I found out that in this country, it will be more reliable to rely on yourself rather than expecting others who are willing to help you but there are more important issues in the country which leaves no room for them to look after the dictionaries.”


Purchase of copyright of books for systematic publishing 

About Larousse Encyclopedia, Mousaee said, “Since 10 to 12 years ago, we found out by seeing the book fairs that we are very backward from the world and that we have to do something to get closer to the international community. One of the ways for getting closer is to interact with foreign publisher and this interaction can happen just through copyright. The foreign publisher says you must pay my rights for publishing or translating my book which a number of publishers pay the rights but a number others do not. I along with several others thought of buying a number of copyrights and publishing them systematically and in a principled way. The French Larousse was one of the first copyright the copyright of which was bought.  We published the book and had a relatively good selling. We had also other books the copyrights of which had been purchased by us; in fact we went and talk to its publisher and if he or she understood what we were saying, we bought its right. We try to show another image from Iranian publication abroad. When a man faces a problem directly, he or she just understands what is happening; when Farhang-e Moaser Publications invests on Hezareh (millennial) Dictionary for 15 years and when it was going to bear fruit, it was published in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I am not able to buy one volume of it. This is very bad. We should try to observe part of the international law. Larousse Encyclopedia and a few other books is in fact the result of this thinking.”


The engineering for publishing a book

About professional reference books and encyclopedia of art, Mousaee said, “When I started my job officially in 1981, I thought to myself what I was going to do among these public publishers? Since I started my job with Hayem Dictionary, the best branch in which I could work was this reference book in which I was also interested. We could not earn our living with a few books of Hayem Dictionary. On the other hand, we wanted to do something. Thus, we published new dictionaries. Our research works had been launched in 1989. I read one text every day and searched art books for finding a word and found out that none of them had glossaries. At that time, I thought to myself that one of the works that we could do is in the field of art. I was the friend of Aidin Aghdashlou (writer and film critic). I asked him who can compile a reliable and first-degree art dictionary. He said, “This can be done only by Rooeen Pakbaz. I contacted with him and made an appointment, and after talks, he said that he wanted to think a little and I accepted. He came some one or two weeks later and brought me some 20 clean and first-degree handwritten papers and asked whether you needed such thing. I said yes. He asked me to publish an encyclopedia of art instead of art dictionary and I agreed. He said, “This takes some two and half to three years.” And I accepted, although I knew it would take more than five years on the basis of the experience I had gained for years. He was surprised when he saw that I have agreed. We did not sign any contract, but I paid his wage for the first one year through several checks. The book took five years and we also waited for our machines for one year and finally the book was published in 1998 and warmly welcomed. At that time, I found out that a book should have an engineer. A publisher must know from the very beginning that for which stratum he or she wants to publish a book. For instance, we knew that the art encyclopedia should be colored. We knew that the book should be presented in a way that the students could buy it. Thus, in this 1100-page book, we inserted just 100 colored pages and the rest was in black and white. It was republished for seven or eight times. Then, I thought of reediting it with Mr. Pakbaz. The book’s edition took 11 years and it was supposed to be published in two volumes but finally was published in three volumes. Today, such works have credit aspect and are not commercial. This work has two aspects, one is that an important job is done is this country and second these prominent individuals may not be available several years later.”           

Hunting opportunities

The Head of Farhang-e Moaser Publications said, “Dr. Mohsen Shojaee who was the translator of Tajik dictionary went to Moscow for his PHD thesis. I had good relation with him. I asked to refer to Mr. Evansovic Eskanian who had a good Russian dictionary in order to satisfy him to update this dictionary. Mohsen Shojaee said he was his professor. I contacted him many times because such individuals who are experts in such works are tough. One day, I went to Moscow for curing my illness and signed a contract with him and Mohsen Shojaee was supposed to be his assistant. It took some three or four years that I received the materials. I always hunt the opportunities.”     

About the collection of contemporary researchers, Mousaee said, “Mr. Houshang Ettehad started this work and had prepared several volumes. He had brought several books of the collection for us. Khosrow Shapoori said this book could not be published. However, I asked Khosrow to give the book to me. Ahmad Kasravi, Ali Dashti, Sadeq Hedayat, Zabih Behrouz and others had been talk about in Ettehad books, and was not possible to get a license for publication. I believed that if a work has an authenticity and be defendable, the publisher should print it. We talk to him to continue his work and we edit and publish it and whenever it was allowed, we distribute it. He agreed and when the Minister of Guidance was changed in 1997, I published the book. I believe that a publisher should supervise his or her work continuously. Therefore, at present we are preparing a new model of the work to publish each figure separately in a volume so that both it can be cheap and have a youthful condition.”      

About Ostad Moeen Dictionary, he said, “I had several meetings with Mrs. Mahdokht Moeen and demanded her to give me the concession of the dictionary to publish it. The real Moeen Dictionary is the one published by Amir Kabir Publications due to its maps and illustrations. Moeen Dictionary does not have pocket format, thus I asked her to complain. But since she was a respected lady and was not in the mood to follow it up, said it was enough for her that the Amir Kabir Publications did her work and did not accept my proposal.”

About the novel “Daee Jan Napoleon”, Mousaee said, “I had watched the TV series “Daee Jan Napoleon” before the victory of the Islamic Revolution. I knew Ali Abbasi. He was the filmmaker of important pre-revolution movies. Some six years ago, one of my friends who had come from abroad had arranged a meeting and invited Mr. Abbasi too. A deep friendship was established between me and him within one year. One time when I was in his house, he said that Iraj Pezeshk Zad was his friend and a publisher other than Safi Alishah (Mr. Moshfegh Hamedani) had asked his books. I found out that Mr. Moshfegh did not handle there due to old age. Thus I contacted with his older son and he allowed publishing Pezeshk Zad’s books. To me, the physic of a book should be compatible with the present time and the physic of the book does not match its time.”   

The new round of the meetings "Oral History of Book" has been held in the Book House Institute; the first meeting on 12th of April 2017 attended by Haj Beitollah Radkhah (Mashma’ Chi), the Head of Tehran-Tabriz Publications, the second meeting on 19th of April 2017, attended by Jamshid Esmaeeliyan, the head of Parto Publications, the third meeting on 26th of April 2017 attended by Abolqassem Ashraf-al Ketabi, the head of Ashrafi Publications, the fourth meeting on 17th of May 2017 attended by Hojjat-al Eslam Biok Chitchian, the head of Mortezavi Publications, the fifth meeting on 23rd of May 2017 attended by Seyed Jalal Ketabchi, the head of Islamiyah Publications, and Seyed Fardi Ketabchi and Seyed Mohammad Baqer Ketabchi, the heads of Elmiyah Islamiya Publications, the sixth meeting on 30th of May 2017 again attended by Seyed Jalal Ketabchi, the head of Islamiyah Publications, and Seyed Fardi Ketabchi and Seyed Mohammad Baqer Ketabchi, the heads of Elmiyah Islamiya Publications, the 7th meeting on 6th of June 2017 attended by Morteza Akhundi, the Head of Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiyah Publications, the 8th meeting on Tuesday 13th of June 2017 again attended by Morteza Akhundi, the Head of Dar al-Kotob al-Islamiyah Publications, the ninth meeting on 20th of June 2017 attended by Mahdieh Mostaqni Yazdi, the owner of Karnameh Publications, Makan and Roozbeh Zahraee, the sons of the late Mohammad Zahraee, the former head of Karnameh Publications, the tenth meeting on Wednesday 28th of June 2017 re-attended by Mahdieh Mostaqni Yazdi, the owner of Karnameh Publications and Roozbeh Zahraee, the son of the late Mohammad Zahraee, the late head of Karnameh Publications, the eleventh meeting on Tuesday 11th of July 2017 attended by Mohammad Reza Najian Asl, the Head of Rasa Publications, the twelfth meeting on Sunday 16th of July 2017 attended by Mohammad Reza Jafari, the Head of Nashr-e No (new publication), the thirteenth meeting on Tuesday 18th of July 2017 attended by attended by Mohammad Reza Najian Asl, the Head of Rasa Publications, the fourteenth meeting on Tuesday 25th of July 2017 attended by Mohammad Reza Jafari, the Head of Nashr-e No (new publication), the fifteenth meeting on Saturday 29th of July 2017 attended by Mohammad Nik Sirat the head of Payam Publications, the sixteenth meeting on Tuesday 8th of August 2017 attended by Saeed Eqbal Ketabchi, the head of Eqbal Publications, the seventeenth meeting on Saturday 12th of August 2017 again attended by Saeed Eqbal Ketabchi, the head of Eqbal Publications, the eighteenth meeting on Tuesday 15th of August 2017 attended by Davoud Musaee, the Head of Farhang-e Moase Publications, the nineteenth meeting on Tuesday 22nd of August 2017 attended by Mehrdad Kazem Zadeh, the Head of Maziar Publications, the twentieth meeting, on Monday 28th of August 2017 attended by Ali Zavar the Head of Zavar Publications, 21st meeting on Tuesday 12th of September 2017 again attended by Davood Mousaee the Head of Farhang-e Moaser Publications , 22nd meeting on Sunday 17th of September 2017 attended by Gholamreza Emami the Head of Mowj Publications and 23rd meeting on Monday 18th of September 2017 again attended by Gholamreza Emami the Head of Mowj Publications.    .  

Also, the first round of the meetings of “Oral History of Book” was held with the attempt of Nasrollah Haddadi in the Book House Institute since 2014 to summer 2015. The result of the meetings has been published in a book entitled “Oral History of Book” in 560 pages by the Book House Institute.  

Number of Visits: 607


Full Name:

Historians are the First Reporters

"Mazar-i-Sharifis fallen. 17th Moradad 1377 (8th August, 1998), here is the place of the Iranian Consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, and I am Mahmoud Saremi, the reporter of Islamic Republic of Iran, Taliban group have entered into Mazar-i-Sharif few hours ago. Instant, instant news! Mazar-i-Sharif was fallen by Taliban ...
Introduction to “How many of us were there?”

Iranian Kazakhs in the Holy Defense

The book “How many of us were there?” focuses on the memoirs of the Islamic Revolution and the war imposed by Iraq with the subject of “a glance on the presence of Kazakhs in the Holy Defense”. Hojjat Shahmohammadi, the author, in a seven page introduction defines the reasons ...

Publication of Oral History Theory in Persian

“Oral History Theory” by Lynn Abrams, translated by Fathali Ashtiani was published by the Office of Islamic Revolution Literature and Soureh Mehr Publication in 2018. The book is structured in 421 pages and eight chapters: the introduction transforms the applicable approach to theoretic, the characteristics of oral history, self, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, memory, narrative, performance and power. Couple of forewords and introductions precede the eight chapters and then followed by the references used to compile the eight chapters of the book.

Oral History Is a Kind of Document

One of the questions that have always preoccupied historians of oral history is that: Is there any need to written documents and so on in recording oral history and compiling its text? An overview of types of documents and nature of oral history can answer this question. Most historical evidence emanates from remains of paper, skin, stone, etc. from preceding eras. But verbal evidence emerges in response to ...