Iranian mythologist Jalal Sattari dies at 90

August 1, 2021 - 18:37

TEHRAN – Iranian scholar Jalal Sattari whose studies most centered on and mythology and dramatic literature died following a massive stroke at his home in Tehran on Saturday. He was 90.

Persian media announced his death quoting his widow Laleh Taqian, who is also an author and researcher on dramatic arts.

Born in the northern Iranian city of Rasht, Sattari left Iran in his youth for Switzerland and earned a Ph.D. in psychology. He was a student of the top Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who was known for his work on child development.

However, Sattari shifted his focus to collective psychology and the study of positive and negative impacts of ancient patterns, myths and fables on the collective unconscious.

He spent over 60 years of his life studying, writing and translating, the outcomes of which appeared in over 100 books. 

Sattari was decorated with the French Legion of Honor in 2005 for his dedication to the cause of culture during his career as a cultural activist.    
He rendered books by Gaston Bachelard, Antonin Artaud, Georges Dumézil and several other French scholars into Persian. Books by Soviet folklorist Vladimir Propp were also translated by Sattari for Persian readers.

The organizers of the Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival established the Jalal Sattari Awards in 2011 to honor scholars of different nationalities for their efforts in the promotion of ritual and folk artistic performances.

Iranian sociologist Nasser Fakuhi conducted a massive interview with Sattari as part of a cultural project at Markaz Publications, which was published in a book titled “A Dialogue with Jalal Sattari”.

“The aim in this project was to encourage those scholars who have influenced the culture of the country over a long period of time in the past century to return to their past, recounting their own stories,” the publisher had earlier said.

In a message of condolences published on Sunday, Fakuhi of the University of Tehran wrote, “Iran’s culture lost one of its greatest, purest, and the most beautiful creative thoughts.”

“I learned again that regardless of how knowledgeable you are, there is no escape from death; it arrives sooner of later; no matter how much education you have, death is a part of life,” he added.

Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Seyyed Mojtaba Hosseini also offered a message of condolences.

“By his research on culture, legends and myths, Dr. Sattari provided valuable treasures from the history and culture of Iran for today and tomorrow,” he wrote.

“His studies on the past cleared the path for Iranian society to continue on its cultural way,” he noted.

Photo:  Iranian mythologist Jalal Sattari in an undated photo.

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