Narratives of Nationalism in Paratexts

The Clash of Narratives in the Paratextual Space of the Persian Translations of the English Texts on the Iran-Iraq War

  • Reza Yalsharzeh Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University
Keywords: paratext, Iranian socio-political system, western socio-political system, narrtaive, social systems theory


Focusing on the social function of translation, this study uses Niklas Luhmann’s (1995) social systems theory to investigate how, despite the translation of western viewpoints, the Iranian socio-political system seeks to maintain its position against these perspectives. To this end, four English books written by western authors about the Iran-Iraq war were selected and the paratextual reactions of the publisher to the western narratives were analyzed. Translation as a boundary phenomenon not only opens the Iranian system to different ideological perspectives about the war but also it is utilized to respond to the west’s dissenting ideological narratives about it. The paratextual space of the Persian translations studied here abounds in opposing narratives that challenge the western ideas about the war. These dissenting narratives which reflect a part of the ongoing ideological and discursive clashes between Iran and the west manifest the Iranian socio-political system’s attempt to draw a distinction between itself and its ideological rival and, therefore, to secure its own position against the other. The role of the paratextual materials of the Persian translations in distinguishing the Iranian socio-political system from the western one and in bolstering the prevailing nationalist accounts of the Iran-Iraq war becomes evident in this study.


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How to Cite
Yalsharzeh, R. (2019). Narratives of Nationalism in Paratexts. Translation Studies Quarterly, 16(64), 27-43. Retrieved from
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