The influence of translation on Shakespeare's reception in Iran: three Farsi Hamlets and suggestions for a fourth.
The study consists of three parts. Part 1 defines the development of translation in Iran over almost fifteen centuries -from the reign of King Anowshiravan (53 1-79), who commissioned the first translation ever made from Sanskrit into Middle Persian (Pahlavi) to the year 2000. This part traces Iran's eventful history from the\ud Arab invasion and the establishment of the Caliphate (642), through the Moghul takeover and the fall of the Caliphate (1258), to the founding of Dar al-fonoon (1852) and the rise of translation to significance, onto\ud W.W. II and the state-wide replacement of French by English as the most important foreign language, resulting in a reinvigoration of translational activities, and finally to the Islamic Revolution (1979) and the end of the twentieth century.\ud Part 2 looks into Shakespeare'sr eception in Iran. Given Shakespeare's profound influence in literary and theatrical activities across the world, the attention he has received in Iran is not commensurate with his high global standing. This part endeavours to find out the circumstances of this comparative neglect The linguistic,\ud prosodic and cultural problems that typically an Iranian translator of Shakespeare may encounter are immense. The French and English in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, never enjoyed anything other than the status of foreign languages, learnt or taught as auxiliaries. Therefore, bilingualism in whose lap scholarly proficiency can be born and bred, has never existed in modern Iran. Individual bilingual scholars\ud who may have attained their proficiency through a painstaking pursuit of knowledge at home or abroad, have either been too few or too involved in other activities to make a strong impact on translation. Thus it might be that shortcomings in some of the translations of Shakespeare may be responsible for his reserved reception in Iran. The inclusion in Part 2 of a few glimpses of Shakespeare's global significance are felt to provide a useful contrast.\ud Part 3 is the main course of the study. It examines Farzad and Behazin's translations both made for the page, as well as Rahimi's adaptation for the stage. Rahimi's Hamlet has been subjected to an appropriation aimed at making it culturally innocuous. It has one act and twenty-one scenes, with a lot of deletions and occasional additions. Each scene has been properly examined and the appropriations made for cultural considerations have been specified. The research concludes with brief remarks on the major findings of the study.