Amir Sedaghat, "Translating Rumi Into the West: A Linguistic Conundrum and Beyond" (Routledge, 2023)

Summary

Amir Artaban Sedaghat’s Translating Rumi into the West: A Linguistic Conundrum and Beyond (Routledge, 2023) engages Rumi, the 13th-century Muslim Persian mystic and a best-selling poet, and the paradoxes of English translations associated with him. Sedaghat explores generative questions from translation to audience reception using translation studies and theories of semiotics. 

The book addresses linguistic and pragmatic questions of translations, such as how text, gender, language, and lexicon can or cannot be translated into languages like English and what's lost in the process. To highlight the latter example, Sedaghat masterfully maps various translators' works over the years, such as Orientalist scholars (Arberry and Nicholson) to contemporary Rumi enthusiasts (Coleman Barks), to show how these various translations have resulted in negotiations informed by translators own particularities (i.e., beliefs, linguistic abilities, and social locations etc). The book further considers how Rumi’s poetry is also defined by kinetic and musical dimensions, which cannot be translated. What then are the ethical challenges to these paradoxes of  untranslatability and reception politics of Rumi into the global west? This book will be of interest to any Rumi enthusiast, scholars of translation, linguistics, and semiotics, and mysticism, Sufism, Persian/Iranian Studies and much more.

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

Your Host

Shobhana Xavier

Shobhana Xavier is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier.

View Profile