Sadeq Hedayat

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Hedayat, Sadeq


(also Sadiq Hidayat). Born Feb. 17, 1903, in Tehran; died Apr. 9, 1951, in Paris. Iranian writer, philologist, and social figure.

Hedayat, who studied in Belgium and France from 1926 to 1930, was well versed in both Persian folklore and classical Persian literature. The collection Buried Alive (1930) comprises short stories that had been published at various times in Belgium, France, and Iran. It was followed by plays, the collections of short stories Three Drops of Blood (1932) and Chiaroscuro (1933), and the two long stories Madame Alaviya (1933) and The Blind Owl (1937). Hedayat collaborated with Masud Farzad on a collection of squibs and satirical short stories entitled Mr. Bowwow (1934). Although modernist influences are evident in, for example, the short stories “Death,” “Buried Alive,” and “The Mannequin in the Window,” Hedayat’s early work registered a protest against hard living conditions and social injustice.

A turn toward realism may be observed in such short stories of the 1930’s as “The Claw,” “Dash Akul,” and “Asking Absolution”; this tendency later came to dominate Hedayat’s work. He criticized certain aspects of Iranian life and attacked fascism and colonialism in the collections of short stories Stray Dog (1943) and Debauchery (1944), and he satirized the “knights of capitalism” in such works as the novella Hajji Aqa (1945). He exhibits a sympathy with his heroes, the working people.

Hedayat translated into modern Persian several masterpieces of Middle Persian literature, for which he provided commentary and introductory articles; these translations included The Book of the Deeds of Ardashir Papakan and The Doubt-dispelling Treatise. An expert on Persian folklore and cultural anthropology, he published Persian Tales, a collection of children’s folk songs, games, and riddles; The Popular Songs, a collection of folk songs (tarana); and The Land of Wonders, a collection of Persian folk beliefs, customs, and rituals. Hedayat also published articles of literary criticism and cultural anthropology.

In 1950, Hedayat left Iran for Paris where, in an access of despair, he destroyed several of his manuscripts and committed suicide. His works, which have been translated into many languages, have had a great influence on literature in modern Persian.


In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1957.
Brodiaga Akol’: Izbr. proizv. [Moscow, I960.]
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1969.


Keshelava, T. Khudozhestvennaia proza Sadeka Khedaiata. Tbilisi, 1958.
Komissarov, D. S. Sadeg Khedaiat: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1967.
Komissarov, D. S. “S. Khedaiat.” Narody Azii iAfriki, 1973, no. 3.


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