Reading "Lolita" in Tehran
A Story of Love, Books and Revolution
Apr 25 2003
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When Azar Nafisi was fired from Tehran University (where she was teaching English literature) because she refused to wear a veil, she gathered a group of her female students and resumed her classes at home, privately and discreetly. There, a group of young women discussed, argued about and communed with Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Henry James, Nabokov and others in the canon of English writers. The surreal picture of reading "Lolita", weighing the sexuality of Jane Austen or the American authenticity of Gatsby in the severe aftermath of Iran's Islamic Revolution was not lost on either Nafisi or her students. The young women themselves represented a range of types and as we meet each of these students we enter their lives, investigate their backgrounds and receive an interesting insight into life in contemporary Iran.