Memorable Roles/Forgotten Roles

Esmaeil Ehsanpoor
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2020-05-12


"Memorable Roles-Review of Memory-writing Literature" authored and translated by Ahmad Okhovvat, edited by: M. B. Hajiani, published in coat pocket size (12*19) and 263 pages by Goman Publication; Second edition, winter 2020, 700 copies, price 500,000 Rial.

In recent decades, numerous and various release of memory books in Iran and abroad, especially memoirs of the Revolution, eight years of Iran-Iraq War, has made memory-writing a pervasive and widespread phenomenon; as it is deserved that experts proceed to identifying and cataloging these works in the form of specialized bibliographies. There are many reasons and grounds for interest in and attention to memory-writing, memory-reading and memory-listening, and lead to many effects and results.

Public interest in memories reflects cultural and social transformation and is a reason why members of society pay attention to events that have a memorable value. Writing memories reveals how writing has gradually spread from circle of noble writers to other sections of society. The popularization of memory-writing is noteworthy because of some considerations, among which influence of this current on evolution of Persian prose is important. In popular sense, memory refers to narration of events that because of remembering and expressing them one enjoys a particular opportunity and pleasure, and finally is bearer of educational and instructional guidelines. One of the benefits of quoting memory (in the form of speech or writing) is empowering understanding language and to create a bond between generations, and is an important factor in preventing cultural, historical and social disruption. This feature reveals memory’s function of identity-creating among members of a family to a nation. It is obvious that following emergence of flow of memory-writing, and publishing memories, recognition of such writings in terms of structure and content to be gradually focus of attention, and theoretical discussions of "memorylogy" become relevant. In this regard, especially in the last two or three decades, significant efforts have been made and a variety of materials have been published in the form of books, articles, symposiums, dissertations and treatises, conversation, critiques and interviews.[1]

It seems that a review of history of these endeavors and report them in form of an independent book is deserved to be studied and written. “Memorable Roles- A Review of Memory-writing Literature” is the most recent book in this field seems to have been published in recent months. In the beginning, what comes to mind from publication of this book, considering name of the author of the work, is that the author, after many years and following his previous writings, starts to discuss serious and new issues in memorylogy and tries to publish them. However, access to the book and a brief review of its contents will disappoint the well-informed reader. The book includes "A Note on the Symposium," which is a reference to some notes on memorandum-writing and memoirs, and at the outset he says "clearly [memorandum-writing and memoirs] are of {!} the modern era, or at least an exploration of condition of modern humans." In the following, he has reviewed some of the features of memorandums and memoirs, of Iranian and western type, and finally thanked author of the book for providing articles with the publisher- Goman Publication- to be printed and published.

The second part of the book is an introduction by the author and translator under title "An Unknown Soldier Monument". It is written in the first line: "Title of this book could have been tomb or monument (or, in the words of Master Dehkhoda Goorgah, in Persian) of an Unknown Soldier: One who is killed in war but his body is not remained and there is no trace of him ..." Here are some tips on photo and autobiography, memory-writing and death, monument, diary and a wish for immortality as a preparation of the book's articles. At the end of the introduction, the author states, "Except for a few articles in this book that I have translated into Persian for the same project of memory-writing literature, and are distinct in terms of name of their authors, the rest of this book materials have been written by myself. I published some of these years ago under name of my friends and with informing them." At the same time, neither the publisher nor the author has specified which one are the reprinted articles and when and where they were previously published. To put it more clearly, one can say that in news of publishing the book, before accessing the text and contents of the book, it seems that this book is a new work and result of the author's new research and reflection on memorylogy, while a review of the book reveals of 32 articles and quasi-articles and notes in this work, 23 of which were published literally on special issue of Memory-writing in Zendehrood Magazine, No. 10 and 11, in the spring of 1995. It should be noted that this special issue, in addition to issues 22 and 23 of Zendehrood Magazine special to “writing about self”, were deserve to refer especially at the time of publication, and are still important and valuable. But in the nine articles and quasi-articles that have been added to the aforementioned 23 articles and quasi-articles, and in the format of the book are considered as memorable roles, translation plays a significant role and presence as far as role and share of Iranians and Iranian memoirs, especially in the last four decades has not been seen by the author at all. Of course, not seeing and not knowing or knowing and hiding the fact is not the reason for not being. Perhaps translation-centrism or extreme translation-orientation and seeing oneself through eyes of others, and even more difficult wanting strangers what we ourselves have has been a reason for this obvious shortcoming in the book. How is it possible that somewhere the war memory-writing flow stimulated Christophe Balai (president of the French-Iranian Iranian Studies Association) twenty years ago to hold a specialized roundtable and a comparative study of memory-writing of French and Iranian war-torn and war veterans[2], but this scientific effort and publishing thousands of memory books and dozens of books and articles in field of memorylogy have not been considered by the dear author as memorable roles? It is not unlikely that after observing and studying a tenth of these works, the author refers to some memorable roles to compensate these forgotten ones, and in completion of this research, remember the wide range of memory-writing of contemporary Iran as a special feature of a memorable and popular movement which has played a major role in cultural history of this era; amen.

 


[1] For example, see:

- Iravani Mohammad Reza (2012), On Steed of Memory (in Persian: Bar Samand-e Khatereh), (A New Look at Memory-writing), Foundation for Preserving Relics and Publishing Values ​​of Sacred Defense, 232 pp.

- Parnian, Muazzez (2005), Memorandum-writers (in Persian: Yadnegaran), Sarir Publication, 296 pp.

- Abbasi, Somayeh (2017), Memory-writing and Its Place in Historiography of Qajar Era (Khaterenevisi va Jayegah-e an dar Tarikhnegari-e Asr-e Ghajar), Sokhanvaran Publication, 240 pp.

- Dehghan, Ahmad (2007), Soil and Memory: War Memory-writing Guide (in Persian: Khak va Khatere: Rahnamay-e Khaterenevisi-e Jang), Publisher: Foundation for Preserving Relics and Publishing Values of Sacred Defense, 367 pp.

-Foroughi Jahromi, Mohammad Ghasem (2007) A Step toward Scientifying Memory-writing (in Persian: Gami dar Rah-e Elmi-shodan-e Khaterenevisi), Publisher: Foundation for Preserving Relics and Publishing Values ​​of Sacred Defense, 208 pp.

- Kamari, Alireza (2015), Recollection Question; Speeches on Memory-writing of the War and Front (in Persian: Porseman-e Yad: Goftarhaei dar Bab Khaterenegari va Khaterenevisi-e Jang va Jebheh), Sarir Publication (Foundation for Preserving Relics and Publishing Values of Sacred Defense), 454 pp.

- Kamari, Alireza (2004), In Memoriam of Memory: An Introduction to Persian Memory-writing in Iranian History (Ba Yad Khatere: Daramadi bar Khaterenevisi va Khaterenegashtehay-e Parsi dar Tarikh-e Iran) (Vol. 1), Sooreh Mehr Publication, 212 pp.

- Kamari, Alireza (2009), Lasting Recollection (In Persian: Yad-e Mana); five articles on memory-writing and memoirs of the war and the front/ holy defense), Sooreh Mehr Publication, 288 pp.

[2] War and Memory: Roundtable on Literature Review of Memory-writing by Warriors of Iran (and Iraq) and French Warriors (in Persian: Jang va Khatere: Mizgerd-e Barrasi Adabiat-e Khaterenevisi-e Razmandegan-e Jang Iran (va Aragh) va Razmandegan Faransavi…), translated by Amir Moghani, Youland Momtaz, Mahtab Bolouki, edited by Faranak Jamshidi, Publishers: France’s Iran Studies Association in Iran, Sooreh Mehr Publication, University of Tehran Press, 2002, 224 pp.



 
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