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‘Literature as resistance.’ Azar Nafisi on the subversive power of reading in troubled times

Library shelves full of books.
Photo by Brad Sloan/Getty Images
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Azar Nafisi is the author of ReadingLolitain Tehran, which spent 117 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Her new book, Read Dangerously, argues that reading literature, reading challenging, dangerous literature is foundational and fundamental to continued democracy.

Imagination, itself, she says, is a threat to autocracy and totalitarianism. Imagination is inherently, by definition, “free and wayward.”

“It should be clear by now that when I talk about books,” Nafisi writes, “I am not talking about literature of resistance but literature as resistance.”

Azar Nafisi joins us for the hour.


  • Azar Nafisi: The author of six books; her newest is Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times

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Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Jonathan is a producer for ‘The Colin McEnroe Show.’ His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on Connecticut Public’s talk shows and news magazines. He’s as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident. Jonathan can be reached at jmcnicol@ctpublic.org.
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