“Upsilamba!”: the Joy and Sanctuary of Fiction in Reading Lolita in Tehran


Author/Creator ORCID




Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Bachelor's Degree

Citation of Original Publication


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I wrote this piece for a class with Irline Francois called “International Feminist Identity.” About halfway through the semester, we began reading a memoir called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Nafisi organized a clandestine English literature course for a group of her female students while living under a dictatorship in Iran. Nafisi writes with such understated elegance that I often found myself reading entire paragraphs or even pages out loud. I became fascinated with the book. Because of Nafisi’s intensely personal approach to her subject, I found myself not only examining the role literature played in Nafisi’s memoir, but in my life as well.