Walt Whitman, a world poet and the father of American free verse, has been read by diverse audiences from around the world. Literary and cultural scholars have studied Whitman’s interaction with social, political and literary movements of different countries. Despite his continuing presence in Iran, Whitman’s reception in this country has remained unexplored. Additionally, Iranian reception of Western literature is a field still in its infancy and under-researched, particularly due to contemporary political circumstances.
The Persian Whitman examines Whitman’s heretofore unexplored reception in Iran. It is primarily involved with the “Persian Whitman,” a new phenomenon born in diachronic and synchronic dialogue between the Persian culture and an American poet.
Specialising in comparative literature, Behnam M. Fomeshi is interested in Iranian studies, American studies and in particular the intersection of the two. In addition to a Humboldt fellowship, he has received several grants including two for research at the University of St Andrews and Leiden University.
"The Persian Whitman is a very impressive study of the American poet’s reception, and influence on modern Iranian literature and culture. It is methodologically innovative in theoretical sense but particularly strong in its empirical perspective."
"Based on solid research, this well-written and thought-provoking book is sure to attract the readers’ attention and inspire follow-up research."
“Iranian reception of Western literature is an under-researched field, particularly due to contemporary political circumstances. The Persian Whitman is a timely contribution to the field; it offers a groundbreaking study of the reception of an American poet in Iran from 1922 when a one-page translation of Walt Whitman appeared in the literary journal Bahar. (…) Replete with thought-provoking details, The Persian Whitman goes beyond a literary reception; it provides the reader with a history of modern Iran and Iranian modernity. (…) An interdisciplinary study, The Persian Whitman will move the field of Iranian comparative literature forwards and will facilitate further conversations among scholars of modern Persian literature, translation studies and Iranian modernity.”
"Were he still alive, perhaps no reader would more greatly praise this academic study on the reception in Iran of America’s most seminal nineteenth century poet than Walt Whitman himself. (…) this book will appeal to those in the fields of both American and Persian studies along with translation studies, transnational (Iranian-American) literature, cultural criticism, political science, and more."
“ ... Fomeshi’s monograph offers an excellent model of historically contextualized readings of texts –readings of which one desires to see more particularly in Iranian/Persian literary studies.”
“... Fomeshi desires to bring Whitman out of the provincial context and expose his globalized version to the readers who are unfamiliar with “the variety of ways that Whitman has been construed for the purposes and needs of other cultures,” in this case Persian culture (5). This in turn aids in “not only the globalization of American Studies but also to a better understanding of Iranian culture” (5). This is what Fomeshi promises to do in his introduction and achieves effectively throughout the book.”
“The historical and theoretical foundations of The Persian Whitman portend a paradigm shift in the comparative studies of American and Persian literatures.”
“This monograph is fundamental and necessary for the study of Whitman’s reception in Iran. Fomeshi shows an impressive knowledge of Comparative Studies.”
"Characterized by authentic academic arguments based on an impeccable methodology, The Persian Whitman certainly has to be translated into other languages."
“Through meticulous browsing of Whitman’s renderings and, at the same time, vigilant to both epitext and peritext of these translations, Fomeshi elucidates the diverse functions Persian translators and translations of Whitman have fulfilled over what has come to be called modern Iranian history. [...] The Persian Whitman is an exciting step forward in the dialog between the twins, translation studies and comparative literature.”