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Book Discussion Meeting for the “Humorous-Satirical Works”

From left: Faramarz Ashenai Ghasemi (Writer), Abbas Ahmadi (Translator), Asadollah Amraee (Translator), Ismail Amini (Writer)

From left: Dr. Faramarz Ashenai Ghasemi (Writer), Abbas Ahmadi (Translator), Asadollah Amraee (Translator), Dr. Ismail Amini (Writer)

March 2016

At this meeting that was held with the presence of author (Dr. Faramarz Ashenai Ghasemi), translator (Abbas Ahmadi), two critics (Dr. Ismail Amini and Asadollah Amraee) and some participants, bilingual Humorous-Satirical Works book dissected at a review and critique session.

“A widely received piece of work does not necessarily mean it is sophisticated” Dr. Esmael Amini, a well-known poet and writer, argued at a meeting held on a Wednesday evening to discuss Humorous-Satirical Works originally written in Persian. Known as a well-seasoned translator of literary pieces, the other panelist Asadollah Amraee believed that not all humorous poems and satirical prose are translatable. Sitting on the next two chairs were Dr. Faramarz Ashenai Ghasemi and Abbas Ahmadi, writer and translator of the bilingual book laid on the table.

In response to why the book’s title was too descriptive rather than literary, Ashenai Ghasemi commented, “I chose a somewhat descriptive title different from what you see out there on the bookshelves today, because there it serves to reflect the educational theme inside. “I had even came up with something more solid like Biography and Humorous-Satirical Works.”

Halfway through his speech, Amini pointed out the key strengths of the book such as the unique creative style distinguishing it from similar humorous pieces. In fact, it conjures up some of the stories written by “Bahram Sadeghi”, a famous contemporary Iranian humorist. “But to be frank, the short stories of the book are nearly far from professionally crafted, since the fundamental elements of a typical short story are rarely found here.” Amini commented.

On his turn to review Humorous-Satirical Works, Amraee first picked on the poor quality of the book in terms of cover design, pagination and print. “The intricacies of a poetic piece of humor cannot be faithfully rendered into a target language, since every joke is culture-specific hardly laughable in other societies.” Although looking disagreeable with untranslatability of humorous writing merely due to lexical constraints, Ahmadi admitted to have become a critique of his own creation after one and half year. “Not that there are too many revisable lines in my effort, but the fact that how perfectionist expectations never end.” Ahmadi concluded.

Delivering his non-defensive speech as the final panelist, Ashenai Ghasemi suggested that more concentration should be shifted on “Cultural Exporting” of Persian books into other nations. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Iranian humorists merely focus on the trivial entertaining issues (and not timeless and global satire) in the society rather than more viable, universally fascinating food for thought and laughter. “That is exactly why I decided to have my book translated into English; hopefully, we have demonstrated that globally appreciable satire is translatable.”



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