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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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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,
- 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
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands