Dr Kayvan Tahmasebian (Department of Modern Languages) has been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to examine the influence of translation on deep structures of modern Persian literary criticism.

Drawing on both global modernism and translation studies, the project will explore the shaping of modern Persian literary criticism around the challenges of translatability.

Tahmasebian will study a wide range of Persian publications from 1860s to 2000s in order to understand how European critical norms affected Iranian literary systems. In addition, he will explore how the adaptation of these norms to a radically different non-European poetics transforms the way we think about and experience the literary form. 

Although the project – ‘Transmodern’ - will investigate the central position of translated literature within the system of modern Iranian literary theory, it will not treat translated texts as transparent objects. Rather, it will consider the crucial role of untranslatability and resistance to translation as an equally formative force in shaping a modern Persian literary theory in Iran.

Tahmasebian said: “Transmodern will argue that Iranian modernity should be sought not in the critical norms that are transferred through translations but in what is left out of translation in form of distortions, variations and imaginary interpretations.”

“On top of this, it will explore the incongruities of the modern Persian language that reveal the inner tensions of a culture revising its tradition in light of its relation to a European other.”

The two year research fellowship began in August 2019.