St Petersburg University presents an almanac of contemporary Russian prose to Iranian readers


The almanac of contemporary Russian prose ‘In the Monastery of the Blessed’
The almanac of contemporary Russian prose ‘In the Monastery of the Blessed’

The almanac opens with an address to Iranian readers by Professor Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University. He shared that the idea of compiling and publishing an anthology devoted to the development of the classical traditions in contemporary Russian prose came about four years ago during a visit of the University’s delegation to higher educational institutions in Tehran. ‘Since 2019, many projects have been developed in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Tehran, including the literary almanac project. The publication aims to familiarise Iranian citizens with contemporary Russian prose. Plans for future cooperation between our countries include the publication of a literary almanac of contemporary Iranian literature by St Petersburg University.’ Professor Kropachev also shared the progress of other collaborative projects promoting cultural exchange, national arts and cultural heritage of the two nations.

In his opening address, Professor Kropachev stressed that almanacs are not just valuable sources of information about the history, cultural heritage and ethnography of another nation, but also a means of intercultural communication and an introduction to a different worldview. ‘The literary almanacs will serve us as a «door-opener», providing the opportunity to feel the atmosphere of the place and the people living there and to appreciate the nuances. I am certain that the Iranian reader will recognise familiar features among the characters of contemporary Russian novellas,’ noted Professor Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University.

The main outcome of our joint project to publish literary almanacs of contemporary Russian and Iranian prose will be another evidence of the fact that we have very much in common.

Professor Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

Dr Zahra Mohammadi is the Head of the Russian Centre set up with the support of the Russkiy Mir Foundation at the University of Tehran and a translator of the short stories included in the anthology. Dr Mohammadi shared her views on the cultural ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation. ‘Despite the strong political and economic relations between our countries, cultural awareness has not been a priority for the governments of both nations so far. Today however, we have a wonderful opportunity to establish cultural ties and communication between our peoples. We are taking steps towards this goal,’ said Dr Zahra Mohammadi.

Dr Mohammadi added that all the translators and the editorial team had studied the Russian language, history and literature to be able to reflect the specific characteristics of the nation from a different cultural perspective. According to Dr Zahra Mohammadi, Head of the Russian Centre of the Russkiy Mir Foundation at the University of Tehran, in order to find a common language between the peoples of Iran and Russia, it is necessary to overcome the existing national stereotypes and spread new fresh ideas about our cultures.

Contemporary Russian literature features a world distinctly different from what we call ‘traditional’. Today’s Russian prose depicts life as it is. Sometimes, it may seem too harsh. Yet, it pictures reality with uninhibited, bold brush strokes. The almanac ‘In the Monastery of the Blessed’ is designed to clear the image of contemporary Russian literature for the Iranian reader.

Dr Zahra Mohammadi, Head of the Russian Centre of the Russkiy Mir Foundation at the University of Tehran

Mehdi Seifollahi, one of the translators of the publication, explained some of the peculiarities of adapting literary works. ‘It is really a challenge to translate humour. When working with humorous texts, you need to delve into deeper linguistic layers because it is important to convey the specifics of Russian humour to a Persian-speaking reader correctly. For instance, when translating political satire, we have to re-encode the world of the literary work for the speakers of the target language in the context of their world,’ explained Mehdi Seifollahi. He also recommended that Iranian students should read ‘The Twelve Chairs’, a classic satirical novel by the Soviet authors Ilf and Petrov, to familiarise themselves with one of the best literary translations into Persian.

Books published by the Nigāristān-i Andīshah publishing house
Books published by the Nigāristān-i Andīshah publishing house

Professor Nikolay Kropachev also expressed his gratitude to the academics of the University of Tehran who translated the selected literary works. The anthology was compiled by the faculty members of the Faculty of Philology at St Petersburg University, who tried to anticipate the Iranian readers’ needs and preferences. ‘After the literary texts were selected and handed over to our colleagues at the University of Tehran, they undertook the Herculean efforts of translating and adapting the texts and arranging publishing opportunities. We are incredibly grateful to them,’ emphasised Professor Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University.

The anthology includes short stories by: Andrei Astvatsaturov (‘Don’t Feed or Touch the Pelicans’); Eugene Vodolazkin (‘Kunstkamera in Faces’); Sergey Nosov (‘Two Lawn Signs’); Valerii Airapetian (‘Childhood’, ‘Two Dead Men’); Svetlana Volkova (‘Elena’s Tear’); and many other renowned Russian writers.

The textual material for the Almanac was prepared with the participation of Andrei Astvatsaturov, Professor of St Petersburg University. Through the efforts of the Centre for the Study of the Islamic Republic of Iran at St Petersburg University, it was sent to the Iranian colleagues.

In 2018, St Petersburg University opened the Centre for the Study of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a result of the dynamic development of partnerships between St Petersburg University and Iranian universities. Currently, among the University’s partners in Iran are eight universities and research institutions, including: Sharif University of Technology; Allameh Tabataba’i University; and the University of Tehran.

The continuous commitment and effort of the scholars of St Petersburg University and the University of Tehran delivered rewarding results. With the financial support of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, the literary almanac ‘In the Monastery of the Blessed’ was published by the Nigāristān-i Andīshah publishing house.


Source link

Similar Posts