Grotesque corporeality and literary aesthetics in Sadeq Chubak's the patient stone

Liora Hendelman-Baavur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article is concerned with ways in which grotesque corporeality shapes Sadeq Chubak's controversial novel The Patient Stone (Sang-e Sabur, 1966). Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin's understanding of grotesque realism in Rabelais and His World, the discussion demonstrates that Chubak employed devices associated with grotesque aesthetics, and that these devices were used to invert and contest social and literary conventions in Iranian culture, although it seems he remains caught to a certain extent within the very systems he challenges. Grotesque realism involves estrangement of the familiar, and leads to degrading the abstract, spiritual and sublime to the material level of physicality and the body. In The Patient Stone, Chubak replicates motifs of classical Persian epics, religious scriptures and the myth of creation and debases them by excessive depictions of bodily conditions and grotesque corporeality (such as deformity, paralysis and decay). The use of grotesque corporeality embodied in the style, content and characters of Chubak's novel facilitates a variety of paradoxes of being and non-being, appearance and reality, death and rebirth, hope and anxiety of a fragmented and alienated society in desperate need of change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-593
Number of pages25
JournalIranian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2014


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