First Iranian Scholar in Persian Literature: Parviz Natel Khanlari


M. Saadat Noury
by M. Saadat Noury



Originally published online on January 16, 2008

In the course of history, Iran has been attacked by many invaders. Despite those numerous attacks and invasions, the Persian Language and Literature have been fortunately preserved, into some extents, through the efforts accomplished by many Iranian patriots. According to many researchers the 9th and 10th century saw the revival of Persian Literature and Culture by poets like Daghighi, Ferdowsi, Rudaki, Mowlavi, Nezami, Omar Khayyam, Saadi and Hafez. The challenge was then carried on by many poets, writers, historian, and scholars who are all credited with reviving the Persian language through their literary works, research essays, and various sorts of publications. In this article the life story and the works of Parviz Natel Khanlari as the First Iranian Scholar in Persian Language and Literature would be studied and discussed.


Parviz Natel Khanlar (PNK) was born in Tehran in 1914. He was the son of Abolhassan Khanlari Etessamolmolk (AKE) from the region of Natel located in the Noor (Nour or Nur) county of Mazandaran, a Caspian province in the north of Iran. AKE was an officer in the Ministry of Justice (in Persian: Vezaarat-e-Daadgosstari or Adlieh). Some reports also reveal that AKE worked as an officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Persian: Vezaarat-e-Omoor-e Khaarejeh). The mother of PNK was Salimeh Kaardaar who was a cousin (in Persian: Dokhtar Khaaleh) to poet NimaYooshij Esfandiari (NYE). NYE (1896-1960), born as Ali Esfandiari, was an Iranian poet who started the style of Modern Poetry or Sher-e-no, aka Nimaii Poetry or Sher-e-Nimaii. It is documented that PNK firstly attended Iranian school of Darolfonoon, French school of Saint Louis, and American School in Tehran, Iran. Upon the completion of high-school education he was already a master in many foreign languages such as French, English, Russian, etc. PNK was then graduated from Tehran University (TU) with a doctorate degree in Persian Literature. He married to his fellow-student Zahra Keya who was the grandchild (in Persian: Naveh) of Shaikh Fazlolah Noori (SFN). SFN was an Iranian Muslim cleric who strongly opposed the Constitutional Revolution of Iran (1905-1911) and was executed for his opposition. According to Azar Nafisi, SFN considered as a mentor to Ruhollah Khomeini, issued religious decree (in Persian: Fatwa) against the public education of women during the Constitutional Revolution. It should be noted that neither PNK nor Zahra Keya followed in the footstep of SFN.

The products of the marriage of PNK and Zahra Keya were a son named Armaan, and a daughter called Taraneh. Later, Armaan died due to cancer. Taraneh, the daughter, studied Architecture and she now lives in Paris, France.

For a short time PNK taught in the high-schools of Rasht, the capital city of Gilan province in the north of Iran. He also taught in some high-schools in Tehran. PNK was then appointed as the Associate Professor in Persian Language and Literature at TU. In 1949, while keeping his position at TU, he attended Paris University in France and studied linguistics. Upon his return to Iran he was promoted as the Professor in Persian Language and Literature at TU. He also traveled to Tajikistan in 1956 and to India in1978.


Professional and literary contributions of PNK may be classified in several categories. First and foremost, he held some of the highest positions in the Iranian government between 1960 and 1979. Early in his career, he was the Governor (in Persian: Ostandaar) of Azarbaijan province in north-western Iran. During 1962-1964, when Amir Assadollah Alam (1919-1978) was the prime minister of Iran, PNK served first as the Deputy Prime Minister and later as the Minister of Culture (in Persian: Vezaarat-e-Farhang). He served as the representative of Mazandaran in four sessions of the Senate of the Iranian Parliament. He was also the Director of the Shahnameh Foundation and of the Iranian Cultural Foundation (in Persian: Bonyyad-e Farhang-e Iran). His efforts were instrumental in the establishment and operation of the Iran Academy of Arts and Literature of Iran, the Franklin Institute, and other similar organizations.

The early works of PNK consisted of both prose and verses. His first contribution appeared in the Iranian Journal of Eghdaam (also spelled as Iqdam) in 1931. The editor-in-chief of that Journal was late Abbas Khalili, the father of contemporary Iranian poetess Seemin Behbahani. This was followed by research in major studies in Persian poetry, linguistics, and the history of Iran both before and after the year of 642 when Iran became a part of Muslim World. In 1932, he translated the Daughter of the Captain (in Persian: Dokhtar-e Sarvan) from French. Like his study of poetry and linguistics, this too led to a series of wonderful and needed translations of European works into Persian. These include translations from the works of Russian writer Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, American archaeologist and historian of Persian Art Arthur Upham Pope, and others.

Possibly the most unique contribution of PNK is his editorship of the monthly Cultural Magazine of Expressing (in Persian: Sokhan) to which a group of Iranian scholars and poets such as Iraj Afshar, Nader Naderpour, Ehsan Yarshater, and many others contributed. Iranian researcher Iraj Bashiri wrote that the magazine of Sokhan, which lasted, with some interruption, for some 35 years (1944-1979) has provided the scholars in Iranian studies a most useful tool for the study of aspects of the Iranian scene.

His famous poem of the Eagle (in Persian: Oghaab) and some of his poetical and literary works can be viewed online in the first section of Poetry and Prose House of Khanlari as provided by this author.


Psychology (Ravaan Shenassi, 1937), Poetical Research (Tahghigh dar Orooz va Ghaafieh, 1958), Rhythm in Persian Poetry (Vazn dar Sher-e Farsi, 1958), On Persian Language (Darbareh-e Zabaan-e Farsi, 1961), Linguistics and the Persian Language (Zabaan Shenassi va Zabaan-e Farsi, 1964), Culture and Society (Farhang va Ejtemaa, 1966), Poetry and Art (Sher va Honar, 1966), The History of Art (Tarikh-e Honar), The Last Visit (Aakharin Didaar), Psychology and the Principles of Training (Ravaan Shenassi va Ossol-e Parvaresh), New Method to Teach Persian Grammar (Ravesh-e Taazeh-e Tadriss-e Dastoor-e Zabaan-e Farsi), Poetical Anthology of Moon in Lagoon (Majmoeh Sher-e Maah da Modaab, 1964), Edition of Yooef va Zolaikhaa, Edition of Chaahar Maghaaleh, Edition of Rostam va Sohraab, Edition of Samak-e Ayyar, Edition of Safarnameh-e Naaser Khosrow, Translation of Tristan and Isolde, Translation of the Daughter of Captain (Author: Pushkin), Translation of Some Letters to a Young Poet (Author: Rilke), Translation of the Masterpieces of Persian Art (Author: Pope), Cultural Magazine of Expressing (Majaleh-e Sokhan, 1944-1979), Edition of Lyrics by Hafez (Esslahaat bar Ghazaliat-e Divan-e Hafez, 1984).


In 1979, when Ruhollah Khomaini took over, PNK was arrested because he had worked as the Minister of Culture in one of the cabinets in the previous regime of Iran, and he was sadly imprisoned for four months. He was then home-bounded until he died. It is documented that, “He did not abandon work during his home-bound years. The Hafez he edited during this time set a daunting standard of scholarship and taste”. At 77, sick and poor, he died on 22 August 1991.

In his poetic elegy, contemporary Iranian poet Mazaaher Mossaffa wrote:

Bar bast rakht khosrow-e molk-e sukhanvari
Shahanshah-e belaaghat: Parviz-e Khanlari

And here is the English version of that poem as translated by this author:

The Lord of the House of Expressing all Words passed away
He was the King of Eloquence and he was Parviz Khanlari.


[If there were only two persons who played a very significant role to introduce and to propagate the Persian Literature and Culture in this present world, one of those persons for sure would be Parviz Natel Khanlari]: Mohammad Jafar Mahjoob.

[Khanlari, not for his own sake, joined the center of power and worked as a minister in the Iranian cabinets. He actually intended to give service to Iranians, to the people]: Nader Naderpour.

[Khanlari’s dignity and kindness were his trademarks. He never lost them even under the most extreme conditions. His composure and his respect for the intelligence of even his tormentors were disarming. Even at the height of his success he was not authoritarian or vain. But deep inside his eyes were sparkling an exacting wit whose cutting edge he did not often reveal. His sense of humor was exquisitely wicked]: Sima.

[Khanlari is distinguished for the simplicity of his style. He did not follow the traditionalists nor did he advocate the new. Indeed, his approach accommodated the entire spectrum of creativity and expression in Persian Literature]: Iraj Bashiri.

[I was a proud student of Dr. Khanlari in both the undergrad and doctoral programs at Tehran University. I also was a humble handpicked graduate that was honored to work under his guidance at the Foundation for Iranian Culture. Dr. Khanlari and his beloved poet, Hafez, will never die and will always be present in the minds of wise people because the hearts of both men flourished with love]: Mahvash Shahegh.

[Taraneh (Khanlari’s daughter) told me that during the last days in the hospital her father often appeared to be conversing with the great masters he had spent his life reading and studying. At some point a visitor put an absurd question to him: “How old are you, Dr. Khanlari?” He smiled through his closed eyes. “Two thousand five hundred years old,” he said. It was a quintessential Khanlari reply: part inside joke, part absolute truth]: Sima.

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD


Bashiri, I. (2004): Online Article of “A Brief Note on the Life of Parviz Natel Khanlari”.

Iran Heritage Website (2003): Online Article on “Zoroastrian Religion after the fall of Sasanian Dynasty”.

Naderpour, N. (1991): A Man from the Top (in Persian: Mardi as Bolandihaa), Persian Magazine of Par, Vol. V, No.57, Pp. 18-20.

Nafisi, A. (2003): Online Article on “The Quest for the real woman in the Iranian novel”.

Natel-Khanlari, P. (1984): Divan-e Hafez (in Persian), Volume 1, the Lyrics (Ghazals), Tehran, Iran. (This work has been also translated by Peter Avery, The Collected Lyrics of Hafiz of Shiraz, 2007, Archetype, Cambridge, UK}.

Saadat Noury, M. (2007): Various Articles and Notes on Persian Poetry.

Shahegh, M. (2008): Online Note on “Parviz Natel Khanlari’s Services”.

Sima (2008): Online Article on “Two Thousand Five Hundred Years Old, Undeniable Value of Parviz Natel Khanlari’s Services”.

Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2008): Online Notes on “Parviz Natel-Khanlari”, “Nima Yooshij”, “Fazlollah Noori”, “Mazandaran”, “Noor County”.



more from M. Saadat Noury
M. Saadat Noury

Dear Ladan

by M. Saadat Noury on

Here is a link to

The Eagle
Parviz Natel Khanlari
Translated by
Iraj Bashiri 





by All-Iranians on

You should ask MPD for an excellent translation of the Eagle!

Ladan Farhangi


by Ladan Farhangi on

Is there any good English translation of his famous poem, Eagle? 

M. Saadat Noury

پاسخ دکتر خانلرى به‏ اخوان ثالث

M. Saadat Noury

Dear AI   Thank you for the poem; please accept this in return

به‏ دوست سخنورم، اخوان ثالث:

عزیز من ز توام این پیام دلدارى‏
دهد نوید که آید بهار بار دگر
بلى، زمستان گر فصل سردى و سختى است‏
امید هست که آرد ز پى بهار دگر
ولى چه سود که پیرانه‏سر نگردد باز
نشاط و شادى و امیّد روزگار دگر
کنون که از تَف انده گداخت شمع امید
منم نشسته و در پیش، شام تار دگر
به کنج عزلت اگر هیچ غمگسار نماند
کجا روم ز پى یار غمگسار دگر
ز عمر، آنچه به جامانده یادگار غم است‏
چرا به سر نهمش باز، یادگار دگر
هر افتخار که اندوختم وبالم شد
چه بایدم که در افزایم افتخار دگر
زمانه قاصد شرّ است و پیک بیداد است‏
گمان مدار که گردد به یک مدار دگر
تو شادمانه بزى، اى رفیق عهد شباب‏
که هست بر دل من زین بهار، بار دگر

پرویز ناتل خانلری


شعرمهدی اخوان ثالث برای دکترخانلری



معروف است که پس از آنکه دکتر خانلری از زندان خمینی و جمهوری نوظهور او آزاد شد ، روانشاد مهدی اخوان ثالث  بهمراه جمعی از شعرا به ملاقات دکتر خانلری که هنوز عصا بدست بود می روند و قطعه شعر زیر را که برای تسلای ایشان سروده بود تقدیم می کند:

بزرگوارا ، عزیزا ، مباش رنجه که چرخ / نمود چهر دگر گون و کرد ، کار دگر
زمین بگردد و گردون بسی پدید کند / زمانهء دگر و روز و روزگار دگر
بلای صعب زمستان ، یقین شود سپری / دوباره نوبت دیگر رسد ، بهار دگر
شنیده ای مثل سیب را و می دانی / مثل حکایت ازین سان کند هزار دگر
هزار چرخ زند سیب برفکنده فراز / که زی فرود بیاید به دست بار دگر
بزرگوارا ، گیتی ستم بسی کرده ست / چنانکه بر تو و بر بس ، بزرگوار دگر
تو یادگار نهادی ، بسی بزرگ آثار / کز آن جهان ادب دارد افتخار دگر
بمان و باز بهل ، در فنون فضل و ادب / چنانکه هشتی ، بسیار یادگار دگر
دوباره باز بهار آید و پدید آرد / درخت خشک و تهی نیز برگ و بار دگر
چنین غریب نماند ، فضائل ایران / ز دور دیده فراوان چنین مدار دگر
چنان نماند و جنین نیز هم ، نخواهد ماند / گذشت چرخ کند باز هم ، گذار دگر

مهدی اخوان ثالث

M. Saadat Noury

Dear Ladan

by M. Saadat Noury on

My bad. The page of "Poetry and Prose House of Khanlari" has been removed since 2009. Please accept this in return 


M. Saadat Noury

Some Responses

by M. Saadat Noury on

Dears AI & RG   Thank you for your kind comments; please accept this in return


Ladan Farhangi

Not Found

by Ladan Farhangi on

On discussing "His Works", you wrote "His famous poem of the Eagle (in Persian: Oghaab) and some of his poetical and literary works can be viewed online in the first section of Poetry and Prose House of Khanlari as provided by this author". Poetry and Prose House of Khanlari was not found on the Internet!


Thank you sir for remebering him.

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

I have known of Mr Khanlori since my father had all his books in his modest library (the back room to my mothers kitchen!) back home. It is such a shame that this man of literature was treated so badly in his old age and died the way he did.

May god bless him and all those who endured  this cruel injustice to their lives before leaving us forever....

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Jenab-e Dr Noury

by All-Iranians on

Thank you for your timely article and for keeping us informed