ID : N-301 Date : 2017/09/12 - 11:19
(Persia digest)- Orhan Pamuk is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2006. In his latest interview with Slate Magazine he speaks of how he was inspired by the Shahnameh Book of Kings by Ferdowsi and Oedipus the King by Sophocles when writing his new novel The Red-Haired Woman.
Speaking about the origins of The Red-Haired Woman with Slate, he says it has emotional and personal roots. There are similarities with Sophocles' Oedipus the King about the killing of the father by the son, and also with the Shahnameh Book of Kings, the epic story written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi.
About the story of Rostam and Sohrab in the Shahnameh, he says: ‘This story is the opposite of Oedipus, because it is the son who is killed by the father. These are the standard texts of Western and Islamic civilizations. I teach one term at the Columbia University every year. The names Sophocles, Aristotle, Plato, and Shakespeare are on display in the Butler Library in big letters. Columbia works well in teaching the classics. I asked myself what about the eastern classics then? What is there to compare with Sophocles' Oedipus the King?’
The author of My Name is Red also talks about the story of a father killing his son in the Shahnameh: ‘We lean towards linking Oedipus to individualism, because he is still respected after he kills his father. We are also inclined to see Rostam, a father who kills his son, as the focus of power and tyranny. Why? Because the entire text of Shahnameh by Ferdowsi revolves around the justification of a father (Rostam) killing his son (Sohrab). We respect Oedipus and understand his suffering with kindness. When we understand him, we also respect his misconduct. I wanted to write about these things - fathers, sons, the lack of fathers, and the loneliness of sons.’
The 65-year old Orhan Pamuk is the author of Snow, My Name is Red, and The Red-Haired Woman which is his latest book. He has also authored a number of non-fiction titles about his country Turkey which have been mostly published in the New Yorker.
Apart from writing, he is also a social and political activist in his country, who has been criticized by the government for speaking out about freedoms on numerous occasions and even taken to court. The Armenian Genocide and the Kurdish approach by the Turkish government are some of the other issues he talks about.