Gholam Hossein Saedi

Gholam Hossein Saedi, known as Gohar Morad, was a famous contemporary novelist and play writer and his books has converted to some of the best Iran movies , such as
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
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Gholam Hossein Saedi
Gholam Hossein Saedi



Gholam Hossein Saedi, known as Gohar Morad, was a famous contemporary novelist and play writer and his books has converted to some of the best Iran movies , such as “The Caw” , “Relaxation in the presence of others” and “Mina Circle”.


Gholam Hossein Saedi was born on 14.01.1936 in Tabriz. He studied in his birthplace and graduate in Psychiatry from Tehran University.
He started political activities from 1952 and at the same time with “National Movement of Oil”. When Saedi was 17, he started working as a journalist and became the authority of publishing for three newspapers; “Faryad”, “Soud” and “Javanan Azarbayejan”. All three newspapers were related to democrat party and all articles were publishing under observation of Saedi. Therefore he was prosecuted and after coup on 18.8.1953 and hiding for two months, in September was arrested and was imprisoned.
His first works were published from 1955 in literary magazines. He became famous firstly because of writing play, and then by writing stories include; “The beggar”, “The two brothers” and “Relaxation in the presence of others” he could establish his position as one of the most innovative story writers of Iran.
In 1957, his first play called "Lylaj" published in the "Journal of the word" and due to censorship of his books and writings by the Pahlavi, he used the nickname of "Gohar morad" for writing plays.
When he was university student, continued his political activities and met some famous persons such as “ Smad Behrangi”, Behrooz Dehghani”, “Maftoon Amini”, “Kazem Saadati”, “Manaf Maleki” and also became the leader of students movements and strikes of Tabriz University. Mean while he published the book of “Elegant soiree” in Tabriz. Saeedi after military service in Tehran with his younger brother named "Ali Akbar Saedi" opened a clinic next to the Shahr-e- Rey Cement factory and usually used to visit patients without charging. Delgosha clinic was a place for gathering political activists, scholars and his friends.
Gholam Hossein Saedi, in 1974, again arrested by Savak near the Semnan and transferred to “Ghezel Ghale” prison and then to “Evin” perison. After withstanding one year torture in cell, in April 1975 released. In 1978 he went to America by invitation of “America Pen Community” and presented many speeches in this country and at winter came back to Iran. He went to Paris at the end of 1982 and died in that city. Saedi wrote over 60 short stories between 1953 – 1982.


His father was “Ali Asghar” and name of his mother was “Tayebeh”. Although his grandfather was one of the constitutionalist of Tabriz and his father’s family had positions in Mozafaredin Shah System, but his father was a simple employee and his financial situation was not good.
Saedi was the older son and had a younger brother named “Ali Akbar” and one sister named “Nahid”. He married in Paris with “Badri Lankarani” in 1981.


His childhood was at the time of occupation of Azerbaijan by Russian military forces, the formation of the "Democratic Party" in Tabriz, and teaching books in Azerbaijan Turkish language in schools, and he frequently has reminded those books with regret.
Saedi said: ”before starting school, my father taught me reading and writing, inevitably, always I was top student and a polite and timid and shy kid and I hated playing ,sport and mischief and was away from happiness and joy of childhood. I always was in dreams, Illusions and fantasies and I loved books, study and read stories at long nights of winter siting beside the oiled lamp”.
He graduated from primary school “Badr” in Tabriz in 1944 and started high school in 1950 in “Mansour” and then “Hekmat” high school. Then in 1955 he entered Tabriz Medicine College.
In 1961, Saedi presented his thesis “social causes of Pysconoroozs in Azerbaijan” which after several months discussions finally accepted reluctantly, and he graduated from Tabriz Medicine College.
In 1962, he went to Tehran for continuing education. At first he selected Obstetrics and Gynecology field, but after observing medical fraud in this field, ignored continuing and went for military service and after completing it, continued his education in Tehran University with a specialty in psychiatry trend.

Political activities

Gholam Hossein Saedi from 1951 entered the political field through collaboration with the "Democratic Party”. He went to the surrounding villages and aware them about their missed rights by his speeches.
His first stories published in magazines include: “Democrat youngsters”, “Student Newspaper” and etc. and was the authority of publishing of three newspapers; “Faryad”, “Soud” and “Javanan Azarbayejan”. The concessionaire of “Soud” newspaper was an Armenian man called “Armatis Arzoomanian” who for the first time introduced Chekhov to Saedi and always minded him :”you can not understand “Crime and Punishment” if you have not read Chekhov yet. After Chekhov, Dostoyevsky influenced him”.
Saedi, after coup of 18 August 1953 became serious in writing but because of political activates arrested when he was 18 and also several times after that became imprisoned for political activities.

Purpose of choosing nick name of “Gohar Morad”

One day after freedom from prison, Saedi went to cemetery and there found a tombstone covered by mud and soil. He cleaned it and saw written on it: “Tomb of Gohar , daughter of Morad”. Until 1955 he has just practiced dialogues by reading plays, for the first time wrote the "Lylajha" play, so he was embarrassed to introduce himself both play writer and skald, so he chose the nick name of “Gohar Morad” for play writing. He kept this habit and each time after the freedom from prison went to cemetery.

Art and media

Most of the Saedi’s literary activities are in field of play writing. He with Bahram Beizaie, Bahman Forsi, Abbas Javanmard, Bijan Mofid, Arbi Avansian, Abbas Nalbandian, Akbar Radi, Esmaiel Khalaj and … between 1961-1971 transformed Iran theater. Another part of his innovation in theater was publishing pantomime works called “Lal Bazi”.
in 1967, Saedi with “Jalal Al-e- Ahmad”,” Reza Borhani” and “Sirous Tahbaz” had discussion with “Hoveida” for eliminating of literati and press censorship, and resulted to form the main core of authors.
in the early 50’s, he established “Alefba Magazine” with some other authors and in 1977 worked with “Ahmad Shamloo” for publishing “Iranshahr Magazine” abroad .Also after Iran revolution, his works has republished in “Ketab Jomeh”, “Special of Art and Literature”.

Establishment the core of authors

Any of Saedie’s works has a hidden story on it. He who has influenced by Azarbayjan’s rich and vibrant literatures, always wanted to write in his native language. He said: ”they forced me to write in Persian”. He wrote the play of “Wolves” in his native language which published in the second edition of “Ketab Mah” and censorship officers immediately stopped that. But that censorship caused Saedi and other authors to speak more allegory language and also was a start for Gholam Hossein Saedi and Jalal Al-e-Ahmad and several authors to establish core of authors and held ten poem meeting.

Anthropological writings

Gholam Hossein Saedi published his first writing “ILkhchi” in 1963. Ilkhchi is name of a village near the Tabriz. Special mentality and language of Saedi is obvious in this work. He in his latter writings, “Khia or Meshkin Shahr” and “people of air” attempted to rich scientific and investigation and academic load.
Jamshid Behnam wrote an introduction for “people of air”. That instruction has relatively precise and scientific reference to book which allowance of writing from Saedi shows that Saedi knew semiotic and ethnographic studies and his weaknesses in investigation.

Novel and Stories

Totally, Saedi wrote 3 Novelsin prison; “The Ball”, “Happy Tatar”, “Stranger in town”. After writing “The Ball” in 1965, he wrote “The entry”, which in introduction has wrote; ”the story is the entrance of long story about companions and comrades of "Hussein ibn Ali, who at night of Ashoora escaped in dark and left him alone and went looking for their life and remained no name of them nowhere.
His last novel named “Caravan of ambassador of Egypt's Khedive to the court of King Tatar” which himself called it “not published book”. This work was not completed, although each part is independent and completed. After reviewing Saedi’s novels or better call long stories, one can claim that they are not valuable as much as his short stories and dramas and totally were not successful experiences, although as interesting and readable books have many readers.

Content of Saedi’s stories

Content of Saedi’s stories is about little stability of Iran society in the aftermath of the coup of August 28, in 30’s and 40’s; but the stability was resulted from sustained oppression and failed goals. In this situation, basic of stories is struggle and stories are happened in villages (such as “Kaleidar” by Mahmood Dolatabadi) that are because of landlordism and poverty and extremely poor living in villages. In these kinds of books a village shows an outline of whole Iran society, and in this period, the space of Iran stories became somehow realism. Selecting villages’ atmosphere in Saedi’s stories as a non development society is due to obvious and non complex relationships. So, symbols are more highlighted and representing the dependencies is easier. For example, the story of Mash Hassan and his caw in “Mourners of shovel”.
People in a special period could not fight with government and failed so started to believe on religious superstitions. Superstitions are issues related to not development societies and village could be a symbol of such societies.
Numerous emotional pressures against community, caused hallucinations and suspicion in characters and realism of these works is mixed with hallucinations and suspicion which form many of Saedi’s story space.

Saedi’s prose features

Saedi uses fantasy factors for creating the mood of shock and disorientation and creates amazing and mysterious spaces which is new in Iranian stories. In fact, by making the reality strange, exposes Inner essence and hidden side of them and could achieve a painful realism.
His conversational prose has no special feature. The author insists on the transfer of iterations and Indulgence of folk tune (on the pretext of maintaining the structure of public language), and this made his prose without any briefness and somehow boring. Saedi was not worried about adequacy technics of his stories and this caused his work has been seriously hurt. But he is a capable author for maintaining action of story to the end and origin of his works is based on making wonderful spaces which give a force to his works and makes him a stylist author with his way of representation.
Most of his stories has continental mood. “Mourners of shovel”, “The ball”, “Fear and Trembling” have adopted from his trips and investigations around the Iran.
in addition to creating average stories in any context, Saedi also created some first-rate works.

Phenomenon and effects of journalism in Saedi’s works

Journalism literatures use journalistic style for writing. But its product is not just newspaper and could be a novel, poem, or social and critical essays. Ignoring some of Saedi’s works, half of his works can be classified in the field of journalism; except stories, novels and plays, other his works, also monographs could be classified as journalism writings which the author is worried about acute problems of his society and is looking for response to serious cases.

The effects of Journalism on Saedi’s activities

If journalism is meant to write articles for newspapers and response to the current political and social events, Then Saeedi has had a significant activity for two periods. The first period was when he was 17 and worked for three newspapers simultaneously, and during the Islamic revolution (1977-1979) two times worked as a journalist. At first time published articles in independent international publications like “Iranshahr” and in covert and overt political issues.
After Islamic revolution, he extended his work with publications. As Keyhan, Etelaat and some other political newspapers has published his articles about social, cultural and political issues every week. He in whole life had activity and accompanies with newspapers and magazines and three times was selected as editor of Anahita magazine, and also was the important member of staff in some high prestigious literary magazines.
At first his works was published for magazines, monthly magazines, and varia. Most of his stories plays and pantomimes, also his novel “The ball” already was published in monthly and weekly magazines. His cooperation was more with Arash monthly magazine, Daftarhaye Zaman, Khooshe, Book of the week, Friday’s book, Ferdosi, Jahane No, Mahde Azadi and … which was publishing in counties. He after Iran revolution accepted job of editor Arash monthly magazin with Simin Daneshvar. In 1974, Amirkabir Publications suggested Saedi to publish a literary journal and he accepted. Saedi was strict and scrupulous and with democratic feelings which appeared in the journal "Alephba”, a ponderous literary magazine.

The theme of Saedi’s works


Most of the characters of Saedi’s stories are deep people, except some of his stories such as “Elegant soiree”, “Saturday was started” and “lucky confused” which are in a virtual space and are not serious stories. Saedi knew different level of people; he was close to them and also lived with them. He as a psychiatrist, have seen and heard their unspeakable pains and as an author knew exactly their relations, movements and their life style.
In “Fear and Trembling” and “Fear and mourners”, he imaged limited, closed and null life of people, and gradually that spoiler hard atmosphere become a mystery in next stories and Saedi tries to represent traditional values of a society in his story named “The downfall” which wish to be free, happy and prosperous but during the events incurred on society, has violated. Some of Saedi’s stories were not complete because he was not satisfied, or because of special considerations did not publish.

Tracing the poverty

Saedi has shown poverty in his works but not appreciate poverty and poor people. His works at first was somehow similar to writings of Maxim Gorky, but gradually irony and quip in his works made stories free from dark and bitterness and theme of his works became “mockery of human communications”, such as “Zanboorak Khaneh” and “Ashghaldooni”. In his letter works, footstep of Chekhov is seen, but similarities are deliberate and conscious and not important. Theme of Saedi’s works has adapted directly from people and reflex the simple, immediate and intuitive of them.


Saedi represented introspection in his works which by analyze the nature and thought of characters that are near the deterioration and destruction, and in this case, he has shown social and cultural crisis of that age. His novels could be classified as psychological novels. These kinds of novels analyze the complex states of mind and can be said that are continuance of modern novelist.
One of the features of modern novel in Saedi’s works is characters of his stories that emerge during the negotiations and conversations. Therefore, much of his stories contain dialogues.
Among his writings there are monographs that include historical past and legends of an area; such as the celebrations or procedures of traditional treatments. Collection of Saedi ‘s writings, after " Zahra block’s people of Tat” by Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, were among the first monographs. Saedi also used such writings for his fiction and stories.

Element of imagination

Saedi wanted to present social paints but he entered some elements of his imaginary, as scenes are highly exaggerated and we can say he was very successful in showing illusory spaces and can observe some signs of magic realism. Saedi was among the first writers who greatly presented insights and well synthesized insight and outside of the characters. Much of his fictions are fantasy and without external reality, but he presented the insight of people realistically.

Conversation Element

Conversation in Saedi’s works include both dramatic and characterization aspects. He goes on with simple, obvious and repeated conversations, without any jock and content. By collecting conversations has made motions, situations and details to present ridicules combination of relationships between people and world. Saedi said: ”I enjoy the conversation and it was serious issue for me.”


Some authors believe that Saedi is nightmare-ridden with bitter thoughts of death in his writings, and at the same time can be sweet with comic absurdity sighted and visually oriented. He used irony in most plays surprisingly and knowingly. He did not use ironic contents and did mot rely on ironic phrases. He with immediate dialogues and descriptions could achieved ironic situations and sometimes went beyond and near nihilism, situation which is not acceptable for him from political and social view but something in depth of his heart was pushed him to nihilistic dialogues and went ahead simply, repeatedly and without irony and any content.

Weaknesses of Saedi’s works

Among features of Gholam Hossein Saeedi’s authorship is hurried writing and printing. His works has no review, no clean draft and not written for more than once and very soon be published.
In this matter he said :”my first and second books were bullshit and just were such a turbulence published in 1955. It is funny that you find your frailty and baseness when you become older and your heart can not bear it and will be hurt. I read an article and it made me disappointed and I supplied Potassium cyanide to kill myself. Now that I am 40, I feel like my writings are hurried and bullshit and any time I say it I feel I am modest. I am shy but not modest. In future, that I think is short, I will write, I know which corner I should sit to dominant on whole scene, I know how should I shout that dose not has only sound reflection. Writing is same as wrestling, I know wrestling technics, in life and in writing.”

Presence in Iran cinema by writing scenarios

Saedi for the first time had a significant presentation in Iran cinema by the movie named "peace in the presence of others" that "Nasser Taghvai" produced it based on a story of "Unknown fears “.Nasser Taghvai’s smart choice from Saedi’s story, one of the best stories of him, showed that Saedi had high potential of dramatic tales and his stories with a little change transformed to scenarios, because the common origin of stories and plays was in a mind which see the world in motions and dialogues and the fact was behind that movements and conversations which gradually became apparent.
Saedi found that in undeveloped countries which written culture is beyond the reach of the poor and illiterate people, the cinema will influence on great mass of audiences. Between cinema and theater he choose cinema and used it as a messenger and till end of his life, cinema remained as his mental seduction.
When the movie “The Caw” directed by Darioush Mehrjoui could obtain fame and many awards from festivals, the importance of multilateral cooperation with Saedi for supplying the movie was more evident. He in addition to write scenarios had a role as an expert in tradition and village fields, for choosing the location. He had worked many years with actors in theater and knew their capacities, so could consult director for selecting actors. In the movie “Mina circle” by complete knowing from people who lived in suburbs, and by knowing hospitals atmosphere and complex relationships of poor people, could cooperate more with Mehrjoui.

Saedi in field of play and theater

Increasing support of critics in intellectuals left groups from objecting theater and the thoughtful and innovative plays with different themes had a message, symbol or content for each person that caused Saedi worked harder and more seriously about writing play and he published about 20 plays. Famous artists of Iran Theater performed most of his plays.
Saedi was pioneer and influential in new theater arena. He found the theater completed language and understood his generation needs and presented society’s requirements. He laid a foundation for theater based on the realities of Iranian culture and civilization, but also a reflection of situations according to the global modern theater.

Significant features of Saedi’s plays

Saedi’s plays have special features, for example he never created a hero in his stories. Each of his plays could be performed simply by little things and few actors and his plays have realistic and psychoanalysis aspects.
Saedi introduced his characters by dialogue not the face and appearance. He went among the people and lived with them to show the reality by help of allegory. Some foreign authors also have comments about Saedi. Filchita Feraro (Italian translator of “people of air”) said that “Saedi was successful in knowing rural society and their special believe and faiths and his works are more coherent and detailed than Jalal Al-e-Ahmad’s works.
Robert Berlesoun (American author) said: “Saedi fosters the green leaves of vertical roots of his culture, customs and ideas in the thoughts sky and explains the horizontal origins of the west culture and introduces us the quality of the tree life which is a hybrid tree of Iran modern literature.”

Promoting political theater in Saedi’s plays

In 40’s, when Saedi started writing play, already Abodl Hossein Nooshin (Iranian drama writer, theater director and investigator of Shahnameh) had experience in political theater. This kind of play was responsible to inform and political protest against the ruling authority and against inequality, oppression, ignorance and poverty. Although followers of this doctrine attempted to continue drama works, but lack of texts and necessary methods for presentation made them insular.
Lalehzar cabaret also has promoted a kind of popular theater which limited many spectators’ image from theater. Very short time the idea of native theater was introduced between artists and in such condition Saedi started writing drama with ironic and protesting tone to present the social issues and current realities.
Very soon Saedi’s plays shined. This shining was due to simple language, natural and realistic features, ironic and protesting tone and most important, continuing the political theater tradition that was necessary that time. Such plays could attract wide range audience of intellectuals, students, staff and ordinary families.

Inconspicuous role of women in Saedi’s works

Gholam Hossein Saedi about Inconspicuous role of women in his works said: ”was not intentional. When Iranian talk about woman, just consider her as a female, because of special condition of their life. The character of “beggar” was a woman, an old woman. So woman was presented. In “Relax in the presence of others” there are two young women. Anyway I had no intention. It depends on necessary for existing woman in a work or not.”
In “Relax in the presence of others” the character of colonel’s wife is very outstanding. She was a mysterious woman at first and then opened her characteristic. She is different from other women in Iranian stories. Colonel’s wife has a new characteristic in Iran fiction stories. There are different kinds of people and also their characteristics are different. Colonel’s wife is a unique woman. She is patient, with a kind of mental inertia. She is sentenced to that kind of life and accepted her faith. She is a young woman who is wife of an old colonel. Her enthusiasm is dead. Girls force her to go to beauty salon. However, at the same she is young; she is experienced and has mental relation. Things that make people nervous and confused can not impact on her. So, with continuing the story, she becomes more and more clear. Our community has many of such women”.

Works and books

It is difficult to name all Saedi’s works in field of play, scenario, story, novel, translation, article and monograph including published and not published , but some of his works such as “Shovel Mourners” , “Varzil Tipstaffs”, “the best daddy in the world”, "A with hat and A without hat"،, “The caw”, “roofs and attics” , “Nani Ensi” and … are some of his famous works and many of them such as “people of the air”, “Dandil”, “Fear and Trembling” has translated to Italian, English, French, Russian and German or has played on scene.


Houses of Shahr-e- Rey, in 1955
Elegant soiree, in 1960
Shovel Mourners, 8 continued stories, in 1964
Dandil, 4 stories, in 1966
Grave and cradle, 3 stories, in 1966
Unknown fears, 6 stories, in 1967
Fear and Trembling, 6 stories, in 1968
Confused lucky people, 10 stories, in 1998


Lilajha, in 1957
Dandelions, in 1959
Working with focks in trench, in 1960
Shan Feribek, in 1961
Kelateh Gol, 1961
The wedding, 1962
Ten Lal Bazi, 10 Pantomime plays, in 1963
Varzil Tipstaffs, in 1965
The best daddy in the world, in 1965
Five plays for Constitutional Revolution, in 1966
A with hat and A without hat in1967
Shine home, 5 plays, in 1967
Dictation and angle, two plays, in 1968
Parvar Bandadn in 1969
Woe to the loser, in 1970
We did not hear, three plays, in 1970
Successor, in 1970
Eye for an eye, in 1971
Snake in Temple, in 1973
Outcome of pen tough in 1975
Hengameh Aryan, in 1975
Zahak, in 1976
Honey Moon, in 1978


The Ball, in 1969,
Happy Tatar, in 1974
Stranger in town, in 1976


Season of arrogance, in 1969
The caw, in 1971
A place for bless in 1978
Mooles Korpoos, in 1982


Ilkhchi, in 1963
Khia or Meshkinshahr, in 1964
People of air, in 1966


“Self-analyze” by “Arthur Jersild”, with “mohammad Taghi Barahani, in 1963
“The Heart, Heart disease and high blood pressure” of “Arthur Jersild”,by “H.Bele Kesli”, with Mohammad Ali Naghshine”, in 1963
“America America” by “Elia Kazan”, with Mohammad Naghi Barahani”, in 1964


Pantomime "poor" starring by “Jafar Vali” on television, in 1963
“Varzil Tipstaffs”, directed by “Jafar Vali”, in 1965
“The best daddy in the world” directed by “Ezatolah Entezami” in Sanglaj Theater, in 1965
“Roofs and attics” and “untried people” directed by “Jafar Vali” on television, in 1966
“Nana Ensi” directed by “Jafar Vali”, in Sanglej Theater, in 1966
“The wolves” and “The caw” directed by “Jafar Vali”, in 1967
“ A with hat and A without hat” directed by “Jafar Vali”, in Sanglej Theater, in1967
“Shine House” directed by “Ali Nasirian”, in 1967
“Invitation” directed by “Jafar Vali”, in Sanglej Theater, in 1967
“Hand over hand” directed by “Jafar Vali”, in1967
“Blessed are patients” directed by “Davood Rashidi” on television, in 1967
“Dictation and angle” directed by “Davood Rashidi” in Sanglej Theater, in 1968
“Parvar Bandadn” directed by “Mohammad Ali Jafari” in Tehran and other cities, in 1969
“Woe to looser” directed by “Davood Rashidi” in Sanglej Theater, in 1970
“Eye for an eye” directed by Hormoz Hedayat in Student salon, in 1972
“Othello in wonderland” directed by “Naser Rahmani Nejad” played in France and several other European cities.


After the death of Saeedi, "Azar Tork Cultural Foundation” in 2008 called its first prize as"Gholam Hossein Saedi”, on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday.


He was ill his last two years of his life. His liver was damaged because of excessive alcohol consumption and though he was himself a doctor but he was afraid of hospital. Due to too much drinking of alcohol and blooding of digestion, some days before 50 years old, on Monday, 22 November of 1985 died in “Sant Antowan Hospital” of Paris. He was buried in 85 pieces of Perlashz cemetery near the tomb of "Sadegh Hedayat".




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