Sadegh Hedayat – Iran’s foremost modern writer of prose fiction and short stories

Sadegh Hedayat (in Persian: صادقهدایت; February 17, 1903, Tehran — 9 April 1951, Paris, France) was Iran‘s foremost modern writer of prose fiction and short stories.

He was educated at Collège Saint-Louis (French catholic school) and Dar ol-Fonoon (1914–1916). In 1925, he was among a select few students who travelled to Europe (Belgium then France) to continue their studies.

He devoted his whole life to studying Western literature and to learning and investigating Iranian history and folklore. The works of Rainer Maria Rilke, Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, Anton Chekhov and Guy de Maupassant intrigued him the most.

His masterpiece The Blind Owl, whose writing he started as early as 1930 in Paris.  was praised by many including Henry Miller, André Breton and others. It has been called “one of the most important literary works in the Persian language.”

Other notable works:
1930 Buried Alive (Zende be gūr). A collection of 9 short stories.
1932 Three Drops of Blood (Se qatre khūn)
1942 The Stray Dog (Sag-e welgard)
1943 Mistress Alaviyeh (Alaviye chānum)
1947 Dāsh Akol

French language translations:
1931 Gooseberries by Anton Chekhov
1948 In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka
1944 Before the Law by Franz Kafka
1950 The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Films about Hedayat:
In 1987 Raul Ruiz made the feature film La Chouette aveugle in France: a loose adaption of Hedayat’s novel The Blind Owl. Its formal innovations led critics and filmmakers to declare the film ‘French cinema’s most beautiful jewel of the past decade

Hedayat’s last day and night was adapted into the short film, The Sacred and the Absurd, which was featured in the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004.


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