Rudaki, the father of Persian poetry: A critical translation, along with commentary and historical background of the poetry of the tenth century Persian poet, Abu-Abdullah Ja’afar-Ibn Mohammad Rudaki
Author: Tabatabai-Sassan Date: 2000 Institution: Boston-University (0017) Subject:Literature Language: English
Abstract: The 10th century Persian poet, Rudaki, is considered to be the father of Persian poetry because he was the first major poet to write in New Persian. This dissertation argues that Rudaki holds a central position in the re-emergence of Persian identity following almost three centuries of Arab domination. The Arab conquest of Persia in the seventh and eighth centuries installed Islam as the official religion and Arabic as the predominant literary language. The gradual weakening of the caliphate and the distance of Khorasan (eastern Persia) from the caliph's power in Baghdad allowed the Samanid dynasty, which ruled eastern Iran for much of the 9th and 10th centuries, to create the atmosphere for a Persian literary "renaissance" by sponsoring Persian literature. Persian poetry flourished at the Samanid court in Bukhara, with Rudaki as its brightest star. The importance of Rudaki as a harbinger of Persian identity and a founding father of Persian poetry, coupled with the fact that his collected poems have never been translated into English, make an annotated translation of his works necessary. This dissertation also discusses various theoretical approaches to translating. It examines the many facets of a literary translation, including its pitfalls and opportunities. In particular, the analysis centers on the intricacies of translating 10th century Persian into modern English, highlighting the specific problems that arise when translating Rudaki. Finally, the dissertation gives two translations for each of Rudaki's poems: a literal translation that contextualizes each poem and provides different possible interpretations, and a "poetic" translation that aims to capture the aesthetic merits of the original.