Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Although Goethe, who first propounded Weltliteratur, was inspired by Persian poetry, recent theorists of world literature have largely ignored it. Persian poetry thrived for hundreds of years across a vast swath of West, Central, and South Asia, but despite this transregional reach and influence, a dominant model of world literature as literature that gains in translation skews against it and other lyric-rich literatures. Exploring a ghazal of Rumi's, this article examines translation's losses of what Ezra Pound called poetry's melopœia and logopœia. But it also looks closely at a contemporary ghazal by Simin Behbahani to check polemical arguments about the "untranslatability" of poetry, showing how phanopœia and other aspects of lyric can survive and even thrive in translation. Proposing a more nuanced position that allows for both losses and gains, this article argues that "world literature" must incorporate comparative literary specificity to be adequate to Persian and other varieties of lyric poetry.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 210-228
Launched on MUSE
2019-09-10
Open Access
No
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