Volume 13, Issue 1 (2022)                   LRR 2022, 13(1): 557-596 | Back to browse issues page


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Tabatabaei S A. “A Kind Person Was in My House” Ferdowsi's Beardless kind man or woman? Gender-based reading of Bijan and Manijeh's Introduction in Al-Shahnameh. LRR 2022; 13 (1) :557-596
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-49810-en.html
Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, Kowsar University of Bojnord, Bojnord, Iran , sst1363@kub.ac.ir
Abstract:   (1346 Views)
The author of the present article applies the "cultural turn"  approach in translation studies to find out why Qavam Al-Din Bundāri, in the seventh century AH, when translating the phrase: "یکی مهربان بودم اندر سرای" From Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, chose equivalent of the word "مهربان" as "الغلام"? Because the text of Shahnameh is devoid of signs that clarify the gender of "مهربان", so there is a hypertextual reason for thinking this word as masculine. An analysis of desire pattern and sexual mechanism in the age of the translator, also its before and after, show that the male actor / subject has in mind in his sexual act, at the same time, two active / objects: (non) masculine and feminine actionable. In other words, unlike the contemporary sexual desire pattern, based on heterosexuality and the male-female duality,in that period in addition to mentioned duality, the dual presence of male- (non) male is also evident in sexual behavior. A search of written and non-written works, such as surviving drawings from predecessors, reveals that the (non) masculine object includes: beardless boy, effeminate man, sodomy and non-testicle. Due to the actions attributed to "مهربان" in the text of Shahnameh, Bondary chooses "الغلام" as the equivalent of "مهربان" among these interpretation. Thus this selection is rooted in the pattern of sexual desire of the source community, not the equivalence of two words in the source and target languages.


1. Introduction
Qavam al-Din Fatah ibn Ali Bundāri (634-586 AH) was the first to translate the Shahnameh into Arabic by order of the ruler of Damascus, Abu al-Fatah Isa ibn Abu Bakr. After attending the court of Abu al-Fatah, he presented the Shahnameh to him and the Kurdish ruler of Damascus asked him to translate this work into Arabic so that everyone, Arabs and non-Arabs, could use it. Hence, Bundāri begins the translation in the first Jamadi of the year 620 AH and ends it in Shawwal 621 AH. Al-Shahnameh has a high position in the Shahnameh research due to its antiquity and the manuscripts that the translator had at his disposal. But it should not be assumed that Bundāri translated the entire Shahnameh. Because he only returned two-thirds of it. The story of testing the sons of Fereydūn, the magic that the king of Yemen does in the work of Fereydūn's children, the killing of white demon by Rostam, Zal's advice to Rostam in the story of Rostam and Esfandiar is one of the deleted parts of the translation. In addition, he does not translate most of the prefaces of the Shahnameh; For example, he did not translate the preface of Sohrab's story, but he has translated the preface of Bijan and Manijeh's story. Ferdowsi has said in this introduction:
بدان تنگی اندر بجستم ز جای                                                                                    یکی مهربان بودم اندر سرای
       Undoubtedly, many readers consider Ferdowsi's kind woman to be the source of his soul; Not only inexperienced readers but also experts think so. For example, Kazazi says: "... a beautiful kind wife came to the garden to hear her husband's voice ..." and Dick Davis examines the links between the preface and the text of the story of Bijan and Manijeh and He concludes: "Both, In the introduction and in the text of the story, women in love help sad and gloomy men"; But Bundāri, contrary to this common perception, considers "مهربان" to be masculine and therefore says:«... فصُحتُ بالغلامِ»  ]I called the Qolam.[

Research Question
In this article the researcher does not intend, based on the linguistic approach in translation studies, to measure the equivalence of the words "الغلام" and "مهربان" with each other, and finally to consider the translation of Bundāri incorrect; Rather, she wants to point to the non-linguistic context of the text with the help of cultural studies, as a new approach to research translation, and answer the question: why Bundāri considers "مهربان" to be masculine?
       The author thinks that this choice of translator has a hypertextual reason; The reason that should appear in the pattern of sexual desire of that time. Choose "الغلام" as "مهربان" equivalent can indicate the masculine object of desire in seventh-century sexuality. Therefore, to answer this question, one must go beyond the text-based study of translation and study the sexuality of the translator community, which, of course, is a very difficult task.

2. Literature Review
According to the history of translation studies, the background of these studies can be divided into three periods: "pre-linguistic", "linguistic" and "post-linguistic". The first period begins in the first century BC and continues until the emergence of linguistic theories in translation studies. The second period begins in the fifties with the emergence of linguistic theories in translation and lasts until the dawn of cultural theories in it. During this period, the unit of translation evaluation changes from word to text, and in the second half of it, with the  functional theories, the ground is prepared for the beginning of the third period of translation studies: post-linguistic period or culture studies in translation-research. Cultural turn is a term that refers to the connection between translation studies and cultural studies. The term was first used in the introduction to the book Translation, History and Culture in 1990. The purpose of Bassnett and Lefebvre, the editors of the series, was to use this interpretation to explain an important development that changed the translation of a research from a textual to a culture-oriented approach. The most important achievement of this turn can be summarized as follows: the unit of evaluation of translation is no longer the text but culture, and the concept of balance / equivalence is evaluated not at the level of words but at the level of role and function of the translated text in the target culture. Thus, in studying the Al-Shahnameh, instead of comparing it with the Shahnameh, one can look at it from the perspective of culture and ask: Why and for what purpose was the Shahnameh translated into Arabic? If the customer is already familiar with the Shahnameh, then the purpose should not be merely to exchange information; Is it an intention to spread cultural capital? But to answer this question, we must first know whether the Shahnameh was seen as a cultural capital? If yes; For which people, Arabs or non-Arabs? Why was the Shahnameh not accepted in Arabic-Islamic culture? And .. . In this article, among the numerous cultural questions, only one question is considered, and that is the reason for "مهربان" return to "الغلام".

3. Methodology
In this research, the author has used the cultural-oriented approach in the study of Bondari translation and text / document analysis method. The brief explanation clearly shows that the research translation of this paper does not rely solely on a linguistic approach; Rather, it is based on gender studies, as a branch of cultural research. Drawing a pattern of sexuality requires an analysis of all the texts that reflect the sexual behavior of society. It is worth noting that the text has a broad meaning here. Contrary to what may come to mind at first glance, the text is not meant in its biblical sense, which includes only the text; Because according to the semiotic approach, in addition to writing, it also learns unwritten text, or in Bart's words, "illegible writing". Hence, drawings and paintings are among the texts in which the researcher has looked at the historical document with socio-cultural implications.
4. Results
An analysis of the meaning of "مهربان" and "الغلام" in the ancient Persian and Arabic dictionaries does not explain why Bandari chose "الغلام" as the equivalent of "مهربان"; Because the word مهربان/kind refers to both men and women. It may be thought that Ferdowsi's description of "مهربان" is the reason for this choice: tall like a cypress, beautiful like the moon and an idol. But this assumption is incorrect; Because the study of Shahnameh shows that these similes, in addition to men, have also been used to describe women. If we place these words in the model that Eugene Naida presents to explain the translation process we get the following diagram:

  مهربان                                                                                      الغلام
              
   decoding                                                                                            coding
                                                                                    
                                                     transfer
Decoding: A lover who brings wine in the middle of the night; [Satisfies the heart of the poet; plays harps] and tells the story.
Coding: Examining who is responsible for performing these functions in the destination culture.

5. Conclusion
Al-Shahnameh, like any other translated text, was born in the context of culture. One of the influential components of culture in shaping Al-Shahnameh is the sexuality of the translator community. Bundāri, when he wants to translate the word "مهربان", contrary to the common approach among translators, ignores the issue of value and replaces the word "مهربان" with "الغلام". The reason for this replacement is the pattern of sexual desire in the destination society. On the one hand, the translator chooses the word "الغلام" based on what Ferdowsi has said about "مهربان", and on the other hand, according to the pattern he has in mind of sexual practice. This word refers to boy that is, next to the feminine, object of masculine desire. The selection of "الغلام", in addition to accepting male homosexuality in the destination community, also indicates its preference; Because the text is free of signs that indicate a kind gender. The close connection between culture and translation helps us to understand the reason for the selection and placement of "الغلام"; but this is one side of the story; Because this substitution can help researchers in the field of sexuality to draw a true picture of the pattern of sexual desire in that period.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Arabic language
Published: 2022/03/21

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