Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran Study Guide

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi is a national best-seller and a global phenomenon. Chronicling Nafisi's time as a female professor of Western Literature at the University of Tehran in the 1970s, her expulsion from the university for her refusal to wear a veil, and her secret, devoted teaching of a few female students in her own home, the novel weaves together personal anecdotes with depictions of the large-scale impact of the Iranian Revolution and Iraq-Iran War. Nafisi uses the books from her syllabus, especially works by Nabokov, Fitzgerald, James, and Austen to structure her thoughts and memories of this turbulent time, connecting themes of the stories to her and her students' emotions. After its publication in 2003, Reading Lolita in Tehran spent 117 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, won a number of awards including the 2004 Non-fiction Book of the Year Award from Booksense, and has been translated into over 23 languages.