Project Description

Book Talk: An Encounter with Dylan Thomas by Ebrahim Golestan, Online

  • Date:

    Tuesday October 18th

  • Online

  • Join us for a conversation with Dr. Abbas Milani to discuss the new book An Encounter with Dylan Thomas by Ebrahim Golestan. The book is edited and translated by Dr. Milani and published by Mage Publishers.

    About the book:

    Abadan, 1951. Iran and Britain are bracing for battle over the continued British monopoly of Iran’s oil. Twenty-nine-year-old Ebrahim Golestan, who was to become a towering figure in Iranian cinema and literature, encounters Dylan Thomas, the famous Welsh poet, who died two years later at the age of thirty-nine from bronchial disease and pneumonia. More for his celebrity than an intimate knowledge of the subject, Thomas had been sent to Iran by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to write a script for a propaganda film about the company’s supposedly salutary role in the country. But for a few hours, Golestan and Thomas pause amidst the escalating standoff between their two countries and speak candidly about poetry, history, philosophy, and the perils of translation.

    Published here for the first time is the English translation (with facing pages in the original Persian) of Golestan’s unflinching portrayal of that encounter, revealing, all too clearly, how unsuited Thomas was for the task in hand.

    Accompanying this is an account of Thomas’s time in Iran, written by Abbas Milani, together with Alina Utrata, a Ph.D. candidate and Gates Cambridge scholar. Based on the poet’s letters, journals, and archival material in England and Wales, it helps to shed further light on an episode long shrouded in mystery and plagued by controversy.

    The book is published by Mage Publishers and coincides with the hundredth birthday of Ebrahim Golestan in October. To mark the occasion, Dr. Milani has included a personal introductory essay on Golestan’s life and work, examining his pioneering approach to film and his important contribution to Iranian literature, despite living in exile for most of his adult life.

    Ebrahim Golestan is a towering Iranian filmmaker and literary figure. Born in Iran in 1922, he founded his own film studio, Golestan Films, and created documentary films as well as the feature films Brick and Mirror and The Secrets of the Treasure of the Jinn Valley. He was close with the eminent Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad until her death in 1958 and produced her film The House is Black. In 1975, he left Iran for the United Kingdom and continued his literary work in exile.

    Abbas Milani is the Director of the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at Stanford University, an Adjunct Professor, and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. His expertise is U.S.-Iran relations as well as Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. Milani is the author of numerous books in Persian and English. Most recently,  he published volume one of his 30 Sketches (Persian Circle, 2022). Milani has also translated numerous books and articles into Persian and English. He has published more than 200 essays and book reviews in journals and papers.

    Event is part of the Stanford Festival of Iranian Arts

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