• “Sweetening the Heavy Georgian Tongue: Jāmī in the Georgian-Persianate World”

    Rebecca Ruth Gould (see profile)
    Literary Translation, Poetics and Poetry, Renaissance / Early Modern Studies, Translation Studies
    Georgian literature, Literature, Sixteenth century, Seventeenth century, Persian literature, Poetry--Translating, Translating and interpreting, Culture, Caucasus
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    safavid, Early modern literature, World literature, Translation of poetry, Literary translation, Early modern culture
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    The poetry of Teimuraz I’s marks a turning point in Georgian literary history. From 1629–34, the poet-king of Kartli and Kaxetia (eastern Georgia) undertook to produce a Georgian equivalent to Niẓāmī Ganjevī’s famed quintet (khamsa) that stands as one of the major achievements of classical Persian literature. While Teimuraz I imitated the form of Niẓāmī’s khamsa, he adds new stories. This chapter explores Teimuraz I’s engagement with Jāmī and with the wider Persian tradition in order to gain a deeper understanding of translation and imitation in the early modern Persianate world. In conceiving of translation as a kind of appropriation, Teimuraz I’s engagement with the romances of Niẓāmī and Jāmī offers an alternative to the current understanding of translation as the wholesale reproduction of a syntactical unit. The forms of intertextuality cultivated by these premodern translation practices indicate the limitations of contemporary understandings of translation for tracking Yūsuf u Zulaykhā’s multilingual circulation across the Persianate world. Teimuraz I turned to Persian, I argue, less for the sake of the fictional patrons and beloveds he praises so elaborately, than for the sake of a literary future he brought into being by grafting his tale, composed in the inferior Georgian tongue, onto a more durable Persianate ethos. While attending to the constraints and possibilities that were opened up by Teimuraz I’s status as a vassal of multiple Ṣafavīd rulers, I also consider the variegated meanings wielded by translation, influence, and vernacular literary expression across the early modern Persianate world.
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    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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