The Tolstoy Tradition in Persian Literature: Family and Female Infidelity




Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Javad Fazel, Love and Tears, family happiness, female infidelity


This article is a comparative study of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Love and Tears (1952) by Javad Fazel focusing on the theme of “family and woman” in the two works. The comparison of these works relies on their thematic similarity and the importance that both authors attach to the role of women in the family and society. In interpreting Tolstoy’s novel, the researchers rely on the ideas of Iranian society, which is more closely associated with traditional patriarchal views. The axiology of society says that a woman is the basis of the family, and family happiness depends on her behaviour, character, and awareness of her duties. When the issue of women’s emancipation in Russia and Iran started emerging, changes in the family structure caused many problems. The key issue in both novels is the infidelity of a married woman and the negative consequences of this act for the family and society. These personal problems threatened the institution of the family and in most cases led to the disintegration of the family. The questions of this study follow the problems of Tolstoy’s novel: what the woman’s role in maintaining the institution of the family is, what determines happiness in the family, and why some families fail. The authors conclude that in Tolstoy’s and Fazel’s points of view, their heroines’ feelings (Anna and Makhin) are not true love but passion. Both authors believe that family happiness depends on the woman’s observance of moral norms, but the norms themselves undergo dynamic changes. And a genuine feeling cannot simply be replaced by the rules of marital cohabitation.

Author Biographies

Marzieh Yahyapour

PhD (Philology), Professor, University of Tehran.

16th Azar Str., Enghelab Sq., 1417466191, Tehran, Iran.

ORCID 0000-0001-8195-6909

Janolah Karimi-Motahhar

PhD (Philology), Professor, University of Tehran.

16th Azar Str., Enghelab Sq., 1417466191, Tehran, Iran.

ORCID 0000-0002-6072-5797

Forough Sotoudehmehr

MA, University of Tehran.

16th Azar Str., Enghelab Sq., 1417466191, Tehran, Iran.

ORCID 0000-0002-3662-1293


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How to Cite

Yahyapour, M., Karimi-Motahhar, J., & Sotoudehmehr, F. (2022). The Tolstoy Tradition in Persian Literature: Family and Female Infidelity. Quaestio Rossica, 10(4), 1334–1347.



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