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AccueilAbstracta IranicaVolume 4411. Littérature11.1. Littérature persane11.1.0. GénéralitésMostafa Abedinifard, Omid Azadibo...

11. Littérature
11.1. Littérature persane
11.1.0. Généralités

Mostafa Abedinifard, Omid Azadibougar, Amirhossein Vafa (eds.). Persian Literature as World Literature

Behnam Fomeshi
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Mostafa Abedinifard, Omid Azadibougar, Amirhossein Vafa (eds.). Persian Literature as World Literature. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021, 272 p.

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1The “nationalistic, nativist and isolationist scholarship” dominates Persian literary studies. To tackle this “crisis” this volume reads Persian texts as “transnational, worldly texts that expand beyond local and national penchants” (1). The volume has three sections. The first section covers “Persian literary worldliness”. Irani-Tehrani analyses August von Platen’s attempt at transplanting the ghazal form into the German literary polysystem. Focusing on div, pari, and jinn, Lasman studies works that provide “avenues for considering the relationship between world and otherworld literatures” (35). Employing the concepts of “transfictionality” and “transmediality,” Esmaeilpour examines selected works by Iranian novelists (from inside the country and the diaspora) to demonstrate how the discourse of globalization is manifest through their narrative. Integrating world literary studies and Digital Humanities, Nanquette provides a picture of the literary market in post-revolutionary Iran.

2The next section addresses the global mobility of text and what is gained or lost in translation. Through reading a ghazal by Behbahani, Ostby challenges a misconception regarding the unidirectional movement of forms from “center” to “periphery”. Focusing on Frashëri, Rexhepi illustrates how the Albanian poet’s appropriation of Persian poetry connected the Albanian literature to world literature. Davidson’s applies “ecumenism” and “globalism” in her reading of the “Baysonqori Preface” to the Shahnameh. Integrating gender politics into her study of a most widespread tale in the global Middle Ages, Hoffmann reevaluates the “Orientalist prejudice, with its simplistic notions of cultural transmission of misogyny between the Islamicate world and medieval Europe” (139). Khojastehpour shows how the literary-artistic partnership between Saʿedi and Mehrjui in the movie Cow (1969) not only helped turn Iranian cinema into World Cinema, but also contributed to the globalization of modern Persian literature. Since Cow is a frequently discussed case of adaptation in the Iranian cinema, the choice of this movie might seem an obvious one. However, this chapter turns Cow into an illuminating case of the interconnections between Iranian cinema as world cinema and modern Persian literature as world literature. Thus, it enriches our appreciation of the interconnectedness between the two neighbouring fields of World Literature and World Cinema.

3The final section provides a critical vantage point to “reimagine” the classics from a global perspective and to restore lesser known texts from the margins. Through reading Shamlou’s relatively under-studied poetry collection as world literature, Thompson offers “proto-Third Worldism as a theoretical frame for use within the study of World Literature” (172). Breyley examines the translocal nature of the narrative in Vafi’s Tarlan and Mirdrekvandi’s No Heaven for Gunga Din and their reception. Analysing Einboden’s study of Daneshvar’s translation of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter (1850), Motlagh elaborates on the limits of the American project of World Literature and transnational American studies. Naderi argues that “Persian literature’s acquisition of literary value, even on a national level, is dependent on its being imported into the philological process of production and accumulation of translational literary capital” (246) (italics mine).

4The volume consists of an introduction, followed by thirteen chapters, and an index. The chapters do not cover Persianate literatures from Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent; non-Persian Iranian languages and literatures; and diasporic literature (with the exception of one chapter). One point of strength is that the volume covers works from various genres and different historical periods. Nevertheless, the absence of a chapter on drama is felt.

5Persian literature used to be visibly worldly when Persian was a lingua franca in a vast space from Balkan to China. With the British colonialism in the India and the rise of nation states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Persian lost its status and became more national in various contexts. In Iran it only got worsened with sanctions, censorship, and the “Neither Western nor Eastern” motto following the 1979 Revolution. Therefore, it might seem that Persian literature of Iran today has no claim of “worldliness”. However, the fact that post-revolutionary Iran is the focus of several chapters in this volume challenges such presuppositions about contemporary Iranian literature. The fact that it belongs to the Literature as World Literature Series is a testimony to the bringing of Persian literature into dialogue with other World Literatures represented in this series.

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Behnam Fomeshi, « Mostafa Abedinifard, Omid Azadibougar, Amirhossein Vafa (eds.). Persian Literature as World Literature »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 44 | 2022, document 1, mis en ligne le 30 juillet 2022, consulté le 11 juillet 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-SA 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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