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Kathleen Hite Babb  

creative writing / reviews
(music and writing) / editor, Japan / U.S.A.

The Persian: Writing A Bahá´í Historical Novel
In the late 1800's a lot was happening around the globe. Almost the entire planet had been explored. Science and industry were changing human perception, life and society. And England had a foothold on every continent.

Since childhood I've had a fascination for Queen Victoria's England. And after reading the Bahá´í history, The Dawn-Breakers, I found myself attracted to the Persia of that era as well. I began to read other contemporary accounts of Persia and the Middle East, and became inspired to write. Yet much of the historical fiction involving the Bahá´í Faith thus far had dealt with the Báb's dispensation, the 1840s and 50s. It was a pity, since there was equally as much dramatic potential in the early Bahá´í dispensation, events that closely linked the two countries that most fascinated me.

My interest focused on the period of Bahá´í history some orientalists have dubbed Middle Bábism. I was intrigued by Bahá'u'lláh's mystical experience in the foul dungeon of the Siyah Chal, the perplexing years in Baghdad, and the effect of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation on the people and the world around Him, and what people's reactions were to His death and the rise of His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Then the "What if...?" kicked in.

But a story is more than plot. It likewise needs a theme. And not until The Persian was almost complete did I realize what its theme was: the intellect vs. the heart -not in the sense of the thinker vs. the romantic, but in terms of empirical thought vs. faith and spiritual experience. For the Victorian Era was a time when the "scientific" approach to academic material and research was gaining wide repute as "the" scholastic standard. Whatever wasn't observable either to the naked eye or through testing was to be considered dubious. So how does one test spiritual matters? How can a person absolutely know what a Manifestation of God is? And is the power of faith to be written off as unsubstantial and unworthy of research? This theme is personified in the novel in the form of an Oxford orientalist (the intellect) and the young woman who eventually becomes his wife (faith).

You can read the article: The Realm of Possibility: Harmonizing Fact and Fiction, at

Email Kathleen at:

  • Member of the BAFA board.

  • Short Story: Shakuhachi, Arts Dialogue, October 2000
  • Review: Childhood Songs from Japan, Arts Dialogue, March 1999
  • Article: The Realm of Possibility: Harmonizing Fact and Fiction, part one, Arts Dialogue, part three, September 1998
  • Article: The Realm of Possibility: Harmonizing Fact and Fiction, part two, Arts Dialogue, June 1998
  • Article: The Realm of Possibility: Harmonizing Fact and Fiction, part one, Arts Dialogue, December 1997
  • Creative Writing: The Persian: Chapter One, Arts Dialogue, September 1996
  • Review: Lady Blomfield, play by Janet Sono, Japan, Arts Dialogue, June 1996
  • Review: The Media and Arts Colloquium, Arts Dialogue, December 1995
  • Review: Playwriting and some Bahá´í historical considerations, Arts Dialogue, June 1995
  • Review: Impressions of the BIA conference (U.S.A.), Arts Dialogue, December 1994
  • Letter: New wine in old skins, BAFA newsletter, September 1994
  • Letter: BAFA newsletter, June 1994
  • Interviewed: Luana Darlow Hirahara, BAFA newsletter, June 1994
  • Letter: BAFA newsletter, March 1994
  • Article: The Persian: Writing A Bahá´í Historical Novel, BAFA newsletter, December 1993
  • Letter: about Roger White, BAFA newsletter, December 1993

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