Iran Nameh, Shahrokh Moskoob

Vol XXII, Issue 3-4

Guest Editor: Hassan Kamshad

In nearly two decades of cooperation with Iran Nameh, as writer, literary historian, social critic, and lecturer, Shahrokh Meskoob became the most prominent voice of its editorial board. In his seminal articles on the early Pahlavi period, he elaborated on the interconnection between Iran’s literary renaissance and its search for a modern identity. His brilliant essays on the lasting relevance and significance of Ferdowsi’s epic, Shahnameh, for the survival of the identity of the Iranian people, were perhaps the most lucid and convincing of their kind. His incisive and eloquent critiques of the autobiographies written by some of leading members of Iran’s old Tudeh party were similarly unique in exposing the flaws in Iran’s modern political and intellectual scene.

Few, if any, of Meskoob’s contemporaries can perhaps equal his rigorous scholarship, multiplicity of interests and deep familiarity with Persian literature as well as western literary and philosophical concepts. His uniqueness, however, was anchored more in his strong ethical bearings, outspoken and unsparing language, an abiding penchant for self-criticism and a pronounced loathing for demagogues and dissemblers. His willingness to be closely associated with Iran Nameh and Foundation for Iranian Studies- both targets of continued vilification by the Islamic Republic of Iran- attested to his intellectual courage and his willingness to take risks in order to pursue his scholarly goals. His biting and often self-effacing humor, the stuff of his charm and charisma, was legendary.

This issue’s articles recount Meskoob’s many and valuable contributions to the field of Persian literature, particularly the study of Shahnahmeh, and his insights into Iran’s modern cultural and social history. The selections from Meskoob’s unpublished letters and notes, however, best illuminate his endless quest for new horizons, his urge to complete his unfinished projects, and his constant preoccupation with death. He may not have reached his goals, but through what he accomplished his name will forever remain high on the roster of the best, the brightest and the bravest of his generation.