Document Type : Original Article


University of Göttingen, Germany


The exportation of modern novel from European languages to other literatures has long been the object of study and has been, most recently, evoked in discussions of World Literature. The introduction of modern novel into the Persian literary system through translation occurred about the turn of the twentieth century. The genre was unprecedented in Persian and the concept of adabiyat was specific to its literary tradition. As a result, the genre had to negotiate its position with literary and cultural norms to legitimize itself in the literary system. This negotiation was partly formal, i.e., accepted forms of literary expression, and partly conceptual, i.e., what the literary should express. The present paper focuses on the channels that introduced the genre into the literary system: first, explicit and implicit norms that regulated the transfer of the genre into Persian are outlined; then, the implications of form, literariness, and genre in inter-cultural transfer are discussed to elaborate on how the incoming novelistic discourse was appropriated. In the end, in view of the way the novelistic was transplanted into the Persian literary system, a number of hypotheses about the location of the novelistic in the Persian literary system are developed.