This book examines the role of Persian literature in politics in the tumultuous period of Iranian history from 1950 to 2000, illustrating how intellectuals used poetry, plays, novels and short stories to comment on socio-political developments. The unique aspect of the book is its strong empirical perspective, as Karimi-Hakkak has participated in the events he is writing about. It analyses how Persian intellectuals dealt with censorship, suppression, imprisonment, exile and even execution for the sake of expression of free speech.
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak is a professor of Persian at the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He is also the founding director of the Roshan Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.
"Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of modern Persian literature, and using a contemplative and an extremely eloquent language, Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak captures the mood of different time-periods of contemporary Iranian history by analyzing a wide range of literary events – topics, personalities, encounters – which travel across a variety of disciplines. A Fire of Lilies is a significant contribution to the field of Persian studies, and it is indeed a very pleasant read."
"Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak’s wide-ranging and original collection of essays is an essential reading for any student or scholar of Persian literature and culture. The author’s profound knowledge of Iran’s modernist literature and his innovative approach to rethink the relationship of literature and politics challenge some of the current assumptions and misunderstandings about this massively underexplored area of research. Through a remarkably rich examination of history, politics and literature, Karimi-Hakkak explores some of the most important yet underexplored shifting points in the history of Modern Persian literature."