Iran News ...


01/17/09

Scholars elaborate on influence of Persian on world literature


TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (Mehr News Agency) -- Foreign scholars presented several articles on the impact of Persian literature on the world's literature during the 6th International Congress of World Teachers of Persian Language and Literature that was held at the University of Tehran on January 15 and 16.

Persian Literature

At the congress, Chinese scholar Yidan Wang from the Institute of Iranian Culture Studies at Peking University likened Persian literature to fire, which is vital and vigorous and includes many stories of passionate love. She contrasted Persian and Chinese literature saying the Chinese literature is like water, namely serene which does not have much love poetry like Persian's. "Unlike Chinese literature, classic Persian literature concerns human spirituality and Chinese readers finds that very attractive and interesting," she added. Although Chinese people are interested in contemporary Persian literature, unfortunately there are not many translations of it available in China, she lamented. Kazakh scholar Bulatbek Batyrkhan lectured about the impact of Persian literature, specifically Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, on Kazakh oral literature and epics and also mentioned similarities between Iranian and Kazakh national heroes.

Iranian academic Alireza Anushiravani spoke about the influence of Persian poet Sadi on 19th American transcendentalist poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. He mentioned that Sadi is a world-renowned poet whose works were introduced to Europeans for the first time through French translations and that Emerson mentioned Sadi in his collection of essays entitled "Nature." "Although there is a 600-year gap between the two poets, we can find many of Sadi's themes in Emerson's articles. Emerson did not know Persian and he was introduced to Sadi through German translations of his works," he added.

Syrian scholar Abbas Sabbagh spoke about the influence of Persian vocabulary on Turkish literature throughout history. He went on to say that the influence of the Persian language on the Ottoman Turkish language and literature was very strong and many Persian words can be found in Turkish dictionaries. One of the most important influential factors was the interest of the Turkish people in the poetry of the Persian poet Rumi and this exerted a powerful influence on the Ottoman Turkish language, he said. The secretary of Children's Book Council of Iran, Nushafarin Ansari made a speech on introducing Persian children to world literature. "Although Iranian translators have been very active over the past 30 years, unfortunately there are not enough children's books in Persian, especially in the realistic genre," she said. She also expressed her happiness about the rewriting of the great Persian works written by Sadi, Rumi and Attar for Iranian children and adolescents during the past few years.


Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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