A Dervish and a Merchant Walk into Europe

Naghmeh Sohrabi

in Taken for Wonder

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199829705
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933341 | DOI:
A Dervish and a Merchant Walk into Europe

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This chapter expands on the book’s interpretive framework by examining two travel accounts written by nondiplomats—a dervish and a merchant—near the end of the nineteenth century. The chapter argues that the diversification of travelers’ accounts and their distance from the official discourse of the Qajar state allowed for the appearance in the European travelogues of both criticisms of Iran and Iranians, and also of Europe. Travel accounts began to reflect an emerging oppositional discourse of self-deficiency and/or fear over the loss of authenticity, which eventually intersected with the constitutionalists’ call for the reform of the dynasty and the eventual creation of a constitutional monarchy.

Keywords: Haji Pirzadah Na’ini; Ibrahim Sahhafbashi; Merchants; Sufis; Persian travelogues; Europe; Paris; America; prices; Qajar Iran

Chapter.  9295 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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