Amir Arsalan is a modern Persian classic. A German translation was published in , but this classic tale has apparently never been translated into English or French. The German version has apparently also been out of print for decades. It is also an interesting literary-historical curiosity, a product of what was still an oral tradition yet easily passing as a novel, an interesting bridge between old Persian tradition and modern Western influences with which Nasr-ed-Din Shah, who travelled extensively though Europe, was certainly very familiar.
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Publish dateThursday 14 May - 0 After the passing of a hundred years, the legend of Amir Arsalan still has that popular attraction and magnetism. It has the potential to be revised or to be adapted into a movie, drama or even a novel. Or is it because this book includes both written and oral story methods which are based on actual and imaginary relations that are still applicable?
Despite the importance of the main and secondary characters, the total relations displayed in this work have present evidences that respond to the widely accepted mentality of the Iranian people.
The fictional styles used in this work and the interest created by suspense, atmosphere, characterization, even the "tone" are all effective elements that place this work among the best fictional writings. What I have said so far is simply a hasty sketch of the interesting and extensive world, mentality and narration of "Amir Arsalan". I believe that I should undertake the task of explaining these for two reasons: first, because of my own interest in the fictional world of the tales and second, because of the presence and the strength of Persian literature which is not merely based on a few genres.
Classical literature is the continuation of mystical discussion in the form of fiction. In some of these works like "Living awake", "Epistle of red wisdom" and "Song on Gabriel" all three works by Sohrevardi, Persian mystic the mystical dimension is very strong and therefore the use of symbolic language is inevitable. The structure of "Amir Arsalan" is such that if it had been written a thousand years ago, it would still gain worldwide fame. The difference lies in the difference between our worlds.
Octavio Paz has a book "One earth, four or five worlds", in it he says that before renaissance most of the world was more or less the same. There was not a big difference between the way Chinese Khaghans and Mongol Khans ruled their country and the way French kings did. They were kings and Khans and the rest were peasants! It is after renaissance that the earth changes into several worlds with a distance of light years of difference between them.
African tribes live in a world in which other people discover the space. Of course these differences affect their ideologies. It is better if the Sultan is righteous, if not he still has the same function his ancestors had. If the minister is wise it is it better, if not he would take on the same bootlicker role. Psychoanalysis is only meaningful when there is "individuality" and in the ancient world individuality was meaningless.
Retailers had the similar beliefs and behaviors throughout ages, poets eulogized the king no matter who he was; ministers plundered people and people lived, were satisfied then they got ill and died. There was no individuality. It can be seen in many great works from the tragedy of "Rostam and Sohrab" to "Amir Arsalan". Some of these moral beliefs can be seen in "Amir Arsalan". Therefore, the characters in a story were also divided as such.
The difference between Amir Arsalan and the more ancient stories is that its characterization is a little more complicated in such aspects. Like his fictional ancestors, Amir Arsalan faces uncertainty in placing good and bad many times, and it is in these challenges that the effects of the modern world can be traced.
In the ancient and mythological worldview, all the things related to a certain tribe were good and proper, and all the things related to other sects were bad and unbecoming.
The farther a sect was from a certain tribe, the worse and the more diabolic it was considered. In the entire work Amir Arsalan is trying to figure what is good and what is bad, or who is good and who is bad? The story of Amir Arsalan is the fruit of his imagination. The musicians would play a song whenever appropriate.