Translation as Alienation: Sufi Hermeneutics and Literary Modernism in Bijan Elahi’s Translations

Forthcoming in Modernism/Modernity

34 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2019

See all articles by Rebecca Ruth Gould

Rebecca Ruth Gould

University of Birmingham; Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Kayvan Tahmasebian

Independent

Date Written: July 13, 2019

Abstract

In the wake of modernism studies’ global turn, this article considers the role of translation in fostering Iranian modernism. Focusing on the poetic translations of Bijan Elahi (1945-2010), one of Iran’s most significant poet-translators, we demonstrate how untranslatability becomes a point of departure for his experimental poetics. Elahi used premodern Sufi hermeneutics to develop his modernist theory of translation, whereby the alien core of the text is recognised at the centre of the original. As he engages the translated text from many angles, Elahi confounds polarities between innovation and imitation, and authorship and translation, that continue to bifurcate translation studies. In contributing to the globalization of modernist studies, this work adds to our understanding of modernism’s entanglement within premodern concepts of creation, as well as to modernism’s recreation of tradition from a non-European geography.

Keywords: modernism, Persian, Iran, translation, poetry, Bijan Elahi

Suggested Citation

Gould, Rebecca Ruth and Tahmasebian, Kayvan, Translation as Alienation: Sufi Hermeneutics and Literary Modernism in Bijan Elahi’s Translations (July 13, 2019). Forthcoming in Modernism/Modernity. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3419455 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3419455

Rebecca Ruth Gould (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham ( email )

College of Arts and Law
Birmingham, UK, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom
https://rrgould.hcommons.org/ (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/rebeccagould

Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/people/rebecca-gould

Kayvan Tahmasebian

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
United States

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