The Reception of Classical Persian Poetry in Anglophone World: Problems and Solutions

SOCRATES 2 (1):39-49 (2014)
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The impact of Persian literature on world culture and literature is undeniable. Persian poets such as Firdowsi, Sa’di, Hafiz, Rumi and Khayyam who deal with universal themes beyond a particular place and time are among the most widely-known literary figures of the world; their works are translated into different languages. Despite the fact that there are different translations of Persian literature in English, it is still not clear whether Persian literature has gained its appropriate place in the world. We study the reception of Persian literature in general and classical Persian poetry in particular in Britain and The United States to see whether it is rightly introduced to these countries or not. A close study of the reception of Persian poetry in Anglophone world in general and in Britain and The United States in particular reveals that while Persian literature is introduced and taught in these countries, it is still far from being truly known there. Those who have been familiar with Persian literature have mainly known it through translations by western scholars, and this has led to problems and misconceptions. As Edward Said argues in Orientalism, the orient is never truly depicted by the west. The best way would be to have Persian scholars of English literature translate Persian works into English.
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