Translation historiography in the Modern World: Modernization and translation into Persian

Omid Azadibougar

Abstract

Nearly all scholarly works about the encounter of Iran with European modernity emphasize the role of translation not only in introducing new literary forms into the Persian literary system, but also in becoming the main engine of change and modernization of the culture. This paper concerns itself with this constructivist narrative of the available historiographical discourse and the translational environment between 1851 and 1921 in Iran. After describing the field of translation in the period in question, I challenge the uncritical conception of translation as a positive force by, on the one hand, investigating hypothetical cultural and linguistic implications, and on the other hand, questioning the power of translation per se, as ascribed to it in the above mentioned historiographical discourse, in socio-cultural modernization. This will prioritize the individual and cultural translational effects over the supposed institutional ones.

Keywords
Table of contents

Even though translations are historical phenomena, it is only relatively recently that they have been taken seriously by historians; at least “history”—or rather “historiography”—has generally been written without any reference to translational phenomena. Hence, it is all the more remarkable when, in certain circumstances, in certain cultural environments, historians take translation (more) seriously. It is true that neither history nor historiography are well-defined kinds of narrative writing. Most universities recognize history or historiography mainly as a national genre in which the history of the local/national culture is an object of study. International historiography may be linked with the tradition of national [ p. 299 ]history, but it is generally considered additional to the history of the national culture. In most cases, various kinds of relations with the surrounding cultures are part of this historiography, but translation is rarely an object of study in this field. At the same time, the history of translation(s) has become an object of study at a relatively late stage in Translation Studies, and is often considered to be a subtopic within the cultural approach to translation.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Ahmadzadeh, Hashem
2003Nation and Novel: A Study of Persian and Kurdish Narrative Discourse. Uppsala: Uppsala University Press.Google Scholar
Aryanpour, Yahya
2002a Az Saba ta Nima [ From Saba to Nima]. First volume. Tehran: Zavvar Press.Google Scholar
2002b Az Nima ta Roozegar-e Ma [From Nima to Our Time]. Third volume of Az Saba ta Nima [From Saba to Nima] series. Tehran: Zavvar Press.Google Scholar
Bakhtin, Mikhail
1973 [1929]  Marxism and the Philosophy of Language [with Valentin N. Voloshinov: Marksizm i filosofija jazyca, Leningrad 1929]. Translated by Ladislav Matejka and I. R. Titunik. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
1996 [1930s]  The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays [essays originally published in Voprosy literatury i estetiki, Moscow 1975]. Holquist, Michael, ed. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
Balay, Christophe
2006 Peidayesh-e Roman-e Farsi [La genese du roman persan modern, 1998]. Translated byMahvash Ghavimi and Nasrin Khattat. Tehran: Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran and Editions Mo’in.Google Scholar
2008Sarchashme-haye Dastan Koutah-e Farsi [Aux sources de la nouvelle persane, 1983]. Translated by Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak. Tehran: Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran and Editions Mo’in.Google Scholar
Blasi, Anthony J. and Weigert, Andrew J.
1976 “Towards a Sociology of Religion: An Interpretive Sociology Approach”. Sociological Analysis 37:3. 189–204.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Michael Boyden, José Lambert and Reine Meylaerts
2007 “La langue de la litterature: institutionnalisation des lettres par le biais du discours.” Plus Oultre. Mélanges offerts à Daniel-Henri Pageaux. Etudes coordinées par Sobhi Habchi. Préface de Pierre Brunel. Introduction de Jean Bessière et Jean-Marc Moura. Postface de Sobhi Habchi. Paris: L’Harmattan, 17. 455–470.Google Scholar
Chesterman, Andrew
2008 “The Status of Interpretive Hypotheses”. Gyde Hansen et al. eds. Efforts and Models in Interpreting and Translation Research. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 49–61.Google Scholar
1998 “Causes, Translations, Effects”. Target 10:2. 201–230.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
2007 “On the Idea of a Theory”. Across 8:1. 1–16.Google Scholar
Dabashi, Hamid
1985 “The Poetics of Politics: Commitment in Modern Persian Literature”. Iranian Studies 18:2/4. 147–188.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
De Graef, Ortwin
2007 “Grave Livers: On the Modern Element in, Wordsworth, Arnold, and Warner”. ELH 74. 145–169.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Even-Zohar, Itamar
1990 “The Position of Translated Literature within the Literary Polysystem”. Poetics Today 11:1. 45–51.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
[ p. 328 ]
1997 “Factors and Dependencies in Culture: A Revised Outline for Polysystem Culture Research”. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. XXIV:1. 15–34.Google Scholar
2004 “Polysystem Theory (Revised)”. Even-Zohar, Itamar, Papers in Culture Research, electronic book available at: http://​www​.tau​.ac​.il​/~itamarez​/works​/papers​/papers​/ps​-revised​.pdfGoogle Scholar
Hermans, Theo
1996 “Norms and the Determination of Translation: A Theoretical Framework”. Román Álvarez and M. Carmen-África Vidal, eds. Translation, Power, Subversion. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 25–51.Google Scholar
1999Translation in Systems: Descriptive and System-oriented Approaches Explained. Manchester: St. Jerome.Google Scholar
Hyun, Theresa M. and Lambert, José
eds. 1995 Translation and Modernization. Volume IV of Earl Miner and Haga Toru, general editors, ICLA 1991 Tokyo: The Force of Vision: Proceedings of the XIIIth Congress of International Comparative Literature Association. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
Jazayery, Mohammad Ali
1970 “Modern Persian Prose Literature”. Journal of the American Oriental Society 90:2. 257–265.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Kamshad, Hassan
1966Modern Persian Prose Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Katouzian, Homa
1991 “Iran”. Robin Ostle, ed. Modern Literature in Near and Middle East 1850–1970. London: Routledge. 130–157.Google Scholar
Lambert, José
1980 “Production, Tradition et Importation: une clef pour l’étude de la litérrature en traduction”. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature. VII.2. 246–252.Google Scholar
1995 “Literature, Translation and (De)colonization”. Theresa M. Hyun and José Lambert, eds. Translation and Modernization. Tokyo: ICLA 1991 Tokyo Congress Headquarters. 98–117.Google Scholar
Mirabedini, Hassan
2007 Sad Sal Dastan-Nevisi dar Iran [A hundred years of story-writing in Iran]. First volume. Tehran: Cheshmeh Press.Google Scholar
Morris, Pam
ed. 1997The Bakhtin Reader: Selected Writings of Bakhtin, Medvedev and Voloshinov. London and New York: Arnold.Google Scholar
Ong, Walter J.
1982Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Rahimian, Hormoz
2006 Adabiat-e Moaser-e Nasr: Advar-e Nasr-e Farsi: az Mashrooteh ta Enghelab-e Eslami [Contemporary prose literature: the phases of Persian prose: from the Constitutional to the Islamic revolution]. Tehran: SAMT.Google Scholar
Schwarz, Roberto
1992Misplaced Ideas: Essays on Brazilian Culture. John Gledson, ed. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
2001 “National Adequation and Critical Originality”. Translated by R. Kelly Washbourne and Neil Larsen. Cultural Critique 49. 18–42.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Vahdat, Farzin
2002 “God and Juggernaut: Iran’s Intellectual Encounter with Modernity”. New York: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
Yeganeh, Nahid
1993 “Women, Nationalism and Islam in Contemporary Political Discourse in Iran”. Feminist Review 44. 3–18.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
[ p. 329 ]