Cannibalism and cultural manipulation: How Morier is received in the Persian literary canon

Human Affairs 28 (2):141-159 (2018)

Post-colonialism and orientalism have inspired literary scholars to study various aspects of literature and literary translation in the post-colonial era. One of the implications of post-colonialism for literature as a discipline is the idea of cannibalism and cultural manipulation. This corpus-based study aims to analyze the notions of “cultural manipulation” or “cannibalism” in the Persian translation of Haji Baba by Mirza Habib Isfahani, to explore the translator’s strategy, as an intercultural mediator, in modulating the source novel’s colonial stance and adapting it to the religious, literary and cultural tastes of the Iranians. Our findings reveal that two main techniques—of omission and euphemism—have been applied in rendering the novel into Persian. Using these techniques, the translator has attempted to challenge the imperial stance of the main writer and come up with a version of the source novel which is much less insulting to Iranians’ cultural values. That is why this translation has been widely received as a literary masterpiece in Persian literature. One implication is that it might be claimed that cannibalism and cultural manipulation can be used to explain the trend of manipulating western literature in countries which have never been colonized, but that have suffered from the colonial stance of colonial writers.
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DOI 10.1515/humaff-2018-0012
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