Agency in the translation and production of The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan into Persian
There is increasing interest in the “sociology of translation”, agents of translation, and the agency of translators in Translation Studies. But more research is needed on actual people involved in the production, distribution, and reception of translation, and factors affecting these inter-relations. In this article, my interest is in agency in the translation and production of James Morier’s picaresque novel, The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan (1824) into Persian. Drawing on Persia’s politics, society and culture of the 19th century, I contextualize both the English and the Persian texts and show how Mirza Habib Isfahani, the translator, intervened in the text in order to exercise his exilic agency. The translator’s interventions in the text show that for him the ethics of political progress was more important than the ethics of fidelity to foreign text. The article also examines the agency of other translation agents: the English Major in charge of the editing and publication of the Persian translation in Calcutta; and a Persian dissident and copyist whose tragic death transformed his posthumous agency from a crossborder copyist to a misidentified translator for more than 50 years.
Keywords: agency, translation agents, 19th century Persia, , intercultural transfers
Published online: 22 December 2011
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