Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Folkltales, Folklore, Iran, Politics, Comparative, culture, Persian, Literature

Major Advisor

Patrick Hogan

Associate Advisor

Lucy McNeece

Associate Advisor

Fakhreddin Azimi

Field of Study

Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This research presents an analytical study of the rewritten folktales of Iran in 20th century, and investigates the ideological omissions and revisions of oral tales as textual productions in modern Iran. Focusing on the problematic role of folktales as tales about the unreal and the fantastic serving a political purpose, this study traces the creative exercises of Iranian storytellers who apply ideological codes and meanings to popular folk language. The works of Mirzadeh Eshqi (1893-1924), Sadegh Hedayat (1903-1951), Samad Behrangi (1939-1968) and Bijan Mofid (1935-1984) are examples of a larger collection of creative writing in Iran that through the agency of folklore shape the political imagination of Iranian readers. While Eshqi’s revolutionary ideas are artistically imbedded in oral culture of the Constitution era, Hedayat’s fiction follows with an intricate fusion of folklore and tradition. Later in the 20th Century, Behrangi introduces politically charged children’s tales to an invested audience, and Mofid dramatizes the joys and sorrow of Iranian culture through a familiar fable. Revisiting the past and reframing the present, these writers invite the readers to participate in a political discourse the consequences of which extend beyond their era to encompass the lives of other generations of Iranians.