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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 15, 2023

The reception and critique of literature in translation: Ahmad Shāmlū, the Poet-Translator and the case of Margot Bickel

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From the journal Lebende Sprachen


Ahmad Shāmlū (1925–2000), modern Persian poet, is among those creative writers who showcase their mastery of language in translation as well. Among his translated works, which encompass both verse and prose, his translation of Margot Bickel’s Pflücke den Tag (1982) and Geh deinen Weg! (1989) is specifically noteworthy for tremendous success and high reception in the TL context, which is arguably beyond that of the original from a literary and critical perspective. As the analysis of sample poems from the two collections reveals, Shāmlū’s skilful rendition has actually produced poetry in the TL. Away from marginalizing the pivotal role of translation in cross-cultural literary exchanges, this study reflects on the critique of literature in translation and literary reception as prone to downplaying or magnifying the significance of SL text in TL critical and receptive evaluations. The paper initiates with an overview of the status of literary translation and its interface with comparative literature, and then briefly reviews two world-famous works of poetry translation and their reception in host cultures to set them as the background for the argument to be made about Shāmlū’s translation of Bickel’s works.


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Published Online: 2023-04-15
Published in Print: 2023-04-04

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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