"Translating Persian"

Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Location: 
Audience: 
Free and open to the public
Speaker(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (TRI)
The Department & Program in Near Eastern Studies
The Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies

Wheeler Thackston is retired from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, where he taught Persian, Arabic, and other languages for nearly 50 years. Prior to completing his PhD at Harvard in 1972, he graduated from Princeton’s Oriental Studies department (the precursor of NES) in 1967. His textbooks for Persian, Arabic, Syriac, and Kurdish are widely used across the English-speaking world. From 2005–2009, he directed the Harvard-Koç Ottoman Summer School on the island of Cunda, Turkey. In addition to his distinguished career as an educator, Thackston is a prolific translator. He has published numerous translations over the course of his career. His major translations comprise a number of Persian literary texts, including Nasrullah Munshi’s Kalila wa-Dimna (2019), Saʿdi’s Gulistan (2008), Nasir-i Khusraw’s Book of Travels (2001), Jalaluddin Rumi’s Signs of the Unseen (1994); historical texts from Persianate South and Central Asia, including Abu’l Fazl’s Akbarnama (2015–), Three Memoirs of Humayun (2009), the Baburnama (trans. 2002, ed. 1993), Jahangirnama (1999), Rashid al-Din’s Jamiʿ al-Tawarikh (1998); and works relevant to Islamic art history, including contributions to The Arts of Ornamental Geometry (2017), Muraqqa‘: Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library (2008), Album Prefaces and Other Documents on the History of Calligraphers and Painters (2001), and A Century of Princes: Sources on Timurid History and Art (1989). A festschrift in his honor was published in 2014, edited by Alireza Korangy and Daniel Sheffield.

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