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The Blind Owl cover

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The Blind Owl

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The Blind Owl (1936; Persian: بوف کور‎, Boof-e koor, listen ) is Sadegh Hedayat's magnum opus and a major literary work of 20th century Iran. Written in Persian, it tells the story of an unnamed pen case painter, the narrator, who sees in his macabre, feverish nightmares that "the presence of death annihilates all that is imaginary. We are the offspring of death and death delivers us from the tantalizing, fraudulent attractions of life; it is death that beckons us from the depths of life. If at times we come to a halt, we do so to hear the call of death... Throughout our lives, the finger of death points at us." The narrator addresses his murderous confessions to the shadow on his wall resembling an owl. His confessions do not follow a linear progression of events and often repeat and layer themselves thematically, thus lending to the open-ended nature of interpretation of the story. The Blind Owl was written during the oppressive latter years of Reza Shah's rule (1925–1941). It was originally published in a limited edition in Bombay, during Hedayat's year-long stay there in 1937, stamped with "Not for sale or publication in Iran." It first appeared in Tehran in 1941 (as a serial in the daily Iran), after Reza Shah's abdication, and had an immediate and forceful effect. It is believed that much of the novel had already been completed by 1930 while Hedayat was still a student in Paris.
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original title: بوف کور
date of publication: 1937
genre: novel

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