From Durham to Tehran presents a Persian literature specialist's impressions and reflections on his field of study and profession, based on two research trips, one to Durham, England in 1986 and the other to Tehran, Iran in 1989. With a format of travel diary entries, the book intends to suggest issues which American students of non-Western literary cultures face in their professional lives. It highlights ambiguities which characterize the situations and experiences of American students of living non-Western literatures. Moreover, it suggests that involvement in an older non-Western literary culture impels the American to reflection on his or her own roots and cultural history. It includes memories of many notable literary figures including Jalal Al-e Ahmad, Ali Shariati and Sadeq Chubak.
Michael Craig Hillmann first travelled to Iran as an American Peace Corps Volunteer in 1965, his assignment to teach English language and literature at the Faculty of Letters at Mashhad University. He met his wife Sorayya there. He thereafter studied Persian, Arabic, and Islam at The University of Chicago and Tehran University. Since 1974 he has taught Persian literature and Iranian culture at The University of Texas at Austin.