Sadegh Hedayat

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I write only for my shadow which is cast on the wall in front of the light. I must introduce myself to it.

Sadegh Hedayat (17 February 19034 April 1951) was Iran's foremost modern writer of prose fiction and short stories.

Sourced[edit]

My life appeared to me as unnatural, uncertain and incredible as the design on the pencase I am using at this moment.

The Blind Owl (1937)[edit]

As translated by Iraj Bashiri
  • In life there are certain sores that, like a canker, gnaw at the soul in solitude and diminish it. (opening line)
  • I write only for my shadow which is cast on the wall in front of the light. I must introduce myself to it.
  • In this base world, full of poverty and misery, for the first time I thought a ray of sunshine had shone on my life. But alas, it was not a sunbeam, rather it was only a transient beam, a shooting star, which appeared to me in the likeness of a woman or an angel.
  • I was not in full control of myself, and it seemed that I knew her name from before. The evil in her eyes, her color, her scent and her movements were all familiar to me. It was as though my souls, in the life before this, in the world of imagination, had bordered on her soul and that both souls, of the same essence and substance, were destined for union. I must have lived this life very close to her. I had no desire to touch her; the invisible beams that emanated from our bodies and mingled were sufficient for me. Isn't this terrifying experience which seemed so familiar to met quite the same as the feelings of two lovers who feel that they have known each other before and that a mysterious relationship has previously existed between them? Was it possible that someone else could affect me? The dry, repulsive and ominous laughter of the old man, however, tore our bonds asunder.
  • I was growing inward incessantly; like an animal that hibernates during the wintertime, I could hear other peoples' voices with my ears; my own voice, however, I could hear only in my throat. The loneliness and the solitude that lurked behind me were like a condensed, thick, eternal night, like one of those nights with a dense, persistent, sticky darkness which waits to pounce on unpopulated cities filled with lustful and vengeful dreams.
  • What relationship could exist between the lives of the fools and healthy rabble who were well, who slept well, who performed the sexual act well, who had never felt the wings of death on their face every moment—what relationship could exist between them and one like me who has arrived at the end of his rope and who knows that he will pass away gradually and tragically?
  • What is love? For the rabble love is a kind of variety, a transient vulgarity; the rabble's conception of love is best found in their obscene ditties, in prostitution and in the foul idioms they use when they are halfway sober, such as "shoving the donkey's foreleg in mud," or "putting dust on the head." My love for her, however, was of a totally different kind. I knew her from ancient times—strange slanted eyes, a narrow, half-open mouth, a subdued quiet voice. She was the embodiment of all my distant, painful memories among which I sought what I was deprived of, what belonged to me but somehow I was denied. Was I deprived forever?
  • My life appeared to me as unnatural, uncertain and incredible as the design on the pencase I am using at this moment. It seems that a painter who has been possessed, perhaps a perfectionist, has painted the cover of this pencase. Often, when I look at this design, it seems familiar; perhaps it is because of this design that I write or perhaps this design makes me write.
  • Finally I realized that I was a demi-god and that I was beyond all the low, petty desires of mankind. I felt the eternal flux within me. What is eternity? Eternity for me was playing hide-and-seek with that whore on the banks of the Suren river; it was a momentary closing of my eyes when I hid my head in her lap.

External links[edit]

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