Strategies of Appropriation: Khayyam and Rumi


  • Farzaneh Farahzad


“Translation as a practice shapes, and takes shape within the asymmetrical relations of power that operate under colonialism.” (Niranjana, 1992:2 cited from Munday 2001:134) The present paper attempts to explore the issue of representation by focusing on two major translations of Persian poetry and literature, one produced in mid 19th century and the other produced in late 20th century. The first part is devoted to Edward Fitzgerald's so-called translation of Khayyam's Rubaiyat, and his strategies of appropriation, which range from adding new verses and quatrains of his own to the Rubaiyat, to alteration of symbols and images, and exclusion of significant cultural elements, all of which have transformed Khayyam into a Western poet-philosopher. The second part briefly discusses the rather recent translations of Rumi's works by Coleman Barks, who seems to be following the same path as Fitzgerald after more than a century, and somehow contributing to a rather similar representation of Persian literature. It further concludes that Western image of Persian literature produced over time still persists, and defines translation within the same old framework of power relations rather than literary exchange.



How to Cite

Farahzad, F. (2006). Strategies of Appropriation: Khayyam and Rumi. Iranian Journal of Translation Studies, 4(15). Retrieved from



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