Harvard McDonald anti-US book, Payandeh
Prominent Iranian semiotist, Hussein Payandeh believes that Harvard McDonald, a book recently published in Iran on 43 visits from the US, is an anti-US work.
IBNA: On Monday (June 25, 2012), a session was held at the Media Culture Center in assessment of a book recently published in Iran titled as Harvard McDonald. The session was held in the presence of scholars Hussein Payandeh, semiotist, Dr Vahid Husseini, lecturer at Sharif University of Technology, Fazel Nazari, head of the Howzeh Honari in Tehran, and Dr Majid Husseini, the book’s author.
In his speech, Payandeh, a literary critic and theory expert, explained the reason for his invitation to the session. “It might be interesting to know why I am invited to this gathering given my academic studies in literary criticism and the theory of literature, while this is a travelogue of those who have visited the US and have written their citations on paper. Literary criticism and theory is my job, but literary criticism is an ultimately interdisciplinary field which gives us a completely inclusive understanding of the new world.”
He argued, “In the past, when one talked of texts he meant novels, short stories, play, etc., but today text is referred not only to the written stuff but to all kinds of narrations; in other words, where we have a collections of signs which are meant to convey a meaning we are dealing with a text whether it be written to not. It is from this angle that my work is related to the book even though it is not a literary book.”
Elsewhere in his address, Payandeh asserted that the book is more than a mere discourse narration even though in the beginning of the book, the writer says that he has tried to write whatever he has witnessed in the US. “The writer has said that even Ale Ahmad and others’ travelogues about the US have tinge of ideological consideration giving the readers the feeling that the work is going to be somewhat higher than narration of a series of events while based on our point of view it is still a narration and has not been able to exceed its limits.”
“The writer has tried to present an eye-witness view in his book, but he realizes that there is no need for that. His view of the US is the view of a US lover who can as well write their accounts of the country. It is written based on a pure anti-US stance and all inimical US policies against Iran in the recent years have boosted that feeling. One cannot be blamed to have anti-US feelings, a belief I also subscribe to.”
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