SUMMARY:Over the last few decades, many courses on Persian literature, both classical and modern, have been created, followed by numerous new positions in Persian literature in translation. While the number of works translated from Persian to European languages remains limited, that number is growing. This panel aims to offer an overview of the field of Persian literature in translation, discuss the development of the field, and capture critical accounts by leading scholars of cutting-edge theoretical and practical research. It will also discuss current debates and problems and suggest productive lines of future research in translation studies from historical, linguistic, and socio-cultural perspectives. It will investigate intra-textual and meta-textual concepts in translating Persian literature, including a linguistic view of translation; poetics and stylistics of translation; untranslatability in Persian literature, especially Persian poetry; cultural considerations in translating Persian literature; and the practical process of translation.
Several of the panelists will investigate the implications of gender in translation, including the practice of translating premodern ghazals, which entails theoretical problems that relate to the very nature of lyric and to the relationship between gender and sexuality, spirituality, and performativity. One of these papers will tackle the practice of translating ghazals in light of desire’s ambiguous nature as a characterizing feature of this genre, both in its historical evolution and in the implied critical approaches that Anglophone, Italian, and French scholars have adopted when exploring this literary heritage through their own languages. Another paper addresses the role of gender in the canonization process, and offers some preliminary analysis of the representation of women writers in short story anthologies, both in English and in Persian, from 1990 to the present. In conducting this analysis, the paper looks to the contemporary theories on canonization in English literature, especially the feminist critic Joanna Russ.
Other aspects addressed by the panel will include historical approaches to translation out of Persian, including an examination of Sa’di’s Gulistān and its status as a core text for teaching literary and social sensibilities in India to British Orientalists. The paper considers some of the earliest English translations of the Gulistān, thereby shedding light on the enterprise of translation in British India. Additionally, translation from Persian will be addressed from a linguistic standpoint, including discussions of both linguistic and metalinguistic factors that influence translation. One such metalinguistic issue would be the translator’s visibility in the text, and the ever-relevant question of domestication vs. foreignization.