Iraj Pezeshkzad, Author of Classic Iranian Novels, Dies at 94

But Professor Abbas Milani, a historian and director of Iran studies at Stanford University, thinks the book overshadowed Mr. Pezeshkzad’s more serious writings, including his academic research. on the literature of the Persian poets Hafez and Saadi. Mr. Pezeshkzad, he said, wished that his literary and non-fiction work would receive equal attention. It never does.

When Stanford University presented Pezeshkzad with the Bita Prize for Persian Art in 2014, about 1,200 people attended the ceremony, the most for any Iran-related event at the university.

Iraj Pezeshkzad was born on January 29, 1927 in Tehran to Hassan Pezeshkzad, a doctor, and Gohar Fekri Ershad, a nobleman from the Qajar dynasty.

Pezeshkzad has an older sister and three half-brothers, and since the age of nine has lived in a complex surrounded by a 30,000 square foot leafy garden. Several of his extended families also live in the complex.

As a child, he was a keen observer of his surroundings and the people who inhabited them and later found inspiration in them as a writer. For instance, in an essay about his childhood, he recalls his delusional uncle who stood in court with children, demanding respect from them by kissing his hand.

After graduating from high school in Iran, Mr. Pezeshkzad earned a law degree from the University of Dijon (now the University of Burgundy) in France. He soon began writing satirical short stories for Iranian publications and translated books by French writers such as Voltaire and Molière into Persian. Returning to Iran, he married Mahin Chaybani. She died in 1979.

In Iran, he was a judge for five years and then worked for the foreign ministry, serving as head of the ministry’s culture department until he was removed from his job after the revolution. During that time, he wrote a popular satire column for a literary magazine and performed plays, articles, research papers, and books.

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